Meaningful Use Changes … Again

There’s been a flurry of activity surrounding Meaningful Use at the end of the year, including yet another change and relaxation of reporting requirements … and a call by one major healthcare organization to eliminate Stage 3 altogether.

Here’s a brief update on where things stand now.

Modified Stage 2

In early November, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relaxed some of the reporting requirements for Stage 2, changing the reporting periods from a full year to 90 days for 2016 and 2017.

This came at least in part due to a request made by the College of Information Management Executives (CHIME).

According to Liz Johnson, a chief information officer for a healthcare system in Dallas who briefed CHIME members at their recent meeting, the organization would like to see the 90-day reporting requirement to become the standard length of time, rather than the full 365-day reporting.

“We can’t seem to get there,” she told HealthLeaders Media ( “We get (90 days) one year at a time. We got two years this time.”

In addition to the 90-day change, some reporting requirements were removed entirely, including those in clinical decision support (CDS) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE). These requirements were also removed from Stage 3.

The requirements were removed, according to Johnson, because of a redundancy in reporting. Both requirements involved ensuring that participants’ electronic health record (EHR) systems were certified by both the CMS and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), which is already true of all certified EHRs.

Cancel Stage 3?

Shortly after the modification of Stage 2 and the presidential election, the American Hospital Association (AHA) sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump, asking for a full cancelation of Meaningful Use Stage 3.

“We urge your Administration to modify or eliminate duplicative, excessive, antiquated and contradictory provider regulations,” wrote Richard Pollack, the president and CEO of the AHA ( “Reducing the administrative complexity of healthcare would save billions of dollars annually and would allow providers to spend more time on patients, not paperwork.”

CHIME has also submitted a similar request, but stopped short of calling for a full cancelation. Instead, CHIME has asked for a delay on Stage 3 until 2019 at the earliest.

“We’ve definitely expressed concerns about provider readiness, vendor readiness,” said Leslie Krigstein, CHIME’s vice president of congressional affairs ( “And broadly, the current state of health IT as it relates to stage 3, we think it’s just not quite where it needs to be for folks to be successful in stage 3.”

Trump has already said on a number of occasions that he plans on repealing the Affordable Care Act, which would in turn cause ripple effects through the entire healthcare industry. What those effects would be, exactly, are still uncertain.

The fate of the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) is also uncertain. According to Medical Economics contributing writer Todd Shryock, because the law was passed with bipartisan support, an immediate repeal is “unlikely.”

In other words, stay tuned.

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