CMS to delay EHR Stage 3

AHA News

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will delay any rulemaking on Stage 3 meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR) until next year while the agency examines how the existing requirements are rolling out, CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Wednesday at a HIMSS conference in New Orleans.

The AHA urged the agency to take similar action in a January letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health IT Policy Committee. For more on the AHA’s letter, click on:

Tavenner also confirmed that the ICD-10 implementation deadline of Oct. 1, 2014 will stand firm. In addition, CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology on Wednesday issued a notice seeking input on potential policy and program changes to accelerate electronic health information exchanges across providers. “To further accelerate and advance interoperability and health information exchange beyond what is current­ly being done through ONC programs and the EHR Incentive Program, HHS is considering a number of policy levers using existing authorities and programs,” states the notice, which was published in the March 7

Federal Register. Comments on the notice will be accepted through April 21. For more, click on:

Meanwhile, two ONC reports released this week show that hospital adoption of EHRs is climbing, but challenges remain.

At least 44% of non-federal acute care hospitals had adopted at least a basic EHR system by 2012, up from 28% in 2011 and 9% in 2008, according to one ONC report.

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Another report said adoption rates for each of the 14 Stage 1 core objectives for meaningful EHR use ranged from 72% to 94%.

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The findings are based on data from the information technology supplement to the AHA Annual Survey.

The reports “prove unequivocally that the nation’s hospitals are hard at work adopting electronic health records,” said Linda Fishman, the AHA’s senior vice president of public policy analysis and development. “However, we must recognize that implementation challenges remain for small and rural hospitals, which have made progress and should not be penalized for not being further along.”

Fishman added that federal policymakers need to emphasize “thoughtful adoption rather than expanded requirements which only create more obstacles.”

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy

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