A bill delaying the implementation of Stage 3 meaningful use until at least 2017 has been introduced in the House.
The legislation calls for a delay until the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalizes Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program regulations or at least 75% of doctors and hospitals are successfully meeting Stage 2 meaningful use criteria.
Under the current proposed federal rule for meaningful use, all providers would need to be meeting stage 3 in 2018. CMS has not yet finalized the Stage 3 criteria.
“Only 19% of providers have met Stage 2 attestations – a clear sign that physicians, hospitals, and health care providers are challenged in meeting CMS’ onerous requirements,” Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), who introduced the Flex-IT 2 Act ( H.R. 3309 ), said in a statement. She added that 48% of hospitals are meeting Stage 2.
“Given this basic fact, I’m uncertain why CMS would continue to push forward with the Stage 3 rule. From my conversations with doctors back home, it is clear they are eager for relief,” Rep. Ellmers continued.
Rep. Ellmers has been a proponent of smart implementation of the meaningful use rule and earlier this year had legislation ready to move to shorten the attestation period in 2015 for Stage 2 to 90 days from the full year. CMS acted to shorten the period before legislative action was necessary.
The legislation, formally known as the Further Flexibility in HIT Reporting and Advancing Interoperability Act of 2015 would codify the 90-day attestation period, regardless of stage or program experience. It also would harmonizes reporting requirements across various programs to remove duplicative measurements and streamline requirements, encourages interoperability and expands hardship exemptions.
The bill’s introduction came amid calls from the American Medical Association to delay Stage 3 in order to sync its requirements with MIPS.