American Hospital Association: Cancel Stage 3 of Meaningful Use

Do away with Stage 3 of the meaningful use program, the American Hospital Association (AHA) urges CMS. The three stages of CMS’ meaningful use program use incentives to encourage hospitals and other health care providers to improve their electronic health records system for Medicare beneficiaries.

Stage 3, set to begin next year, will place an untenable burden on the association’s 5,000 members, wrote Thomas P. Nickels, the executive vice president for government relations and public policy, in an August 25 letter to Rep. Pat Tiberi, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Health. CMS recently made Stage 3 optional for next year, but the AHA wants the entire thing discarded by removing the 2018 start date altogether.  

An addendum to the letter offers suggestions on how the government can provide regulatory relief. Hospitals are already overloaded with “burdensome and unnecessary” meaningful use regulations, the AHA claims. There’s no clear evidence that they help patients, it adds.

“These excessive requirements are set to become even more onerous when Stage 3 begins,” the AHA says. “They will also raise costs by forcing hospitals to spend large sums upgrading their EHRs solely for the purpose of meeting regulatory requirements.”  

The letter echoes one that the AHA sent to then President-elect Trump back in November. In that letter, AHA President and CEO Richard Pollack also made a broad appeal to lift the regulatory burden on hospitals.

“Reducing the administrative complexity of health care would save billions of dollars annually and would allow providers to spend more time on patients, not paperwork,” Pollack wrote last November.

The meaningful use effort falls under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act). HITECH was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

In addition, the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under MACRA includes a meaningful use component.

According to CMS, the objectives and measures for hospitals under Stage 3 are:

  • Setting up a system to protect health information via appropriate administrative, technical and physical safeguards.
  • Creating discharge prescriptions electronically.
  • Implementing clinical decision support to improve quality for “high-priority” health conditions. 
  • Using computerized provider order entry “for medication, laboratory, and diagnostic imaging orders directly entered by any licensed health care professional, credentialed medical assistant, or a medical staff member credentialed to and performing the equivalent duties of a credentialed medical assistant, who can enter orders into the medical record per state, local, and professional guidelines.”
  • Providing patients or their representatives with timely electronic access to their health information.
  • Engaging patients or their representatives about their care.
  • Creating a summary of the care a patient receives when that patient is transferred to another health care setting, and incorporating information from other providers into the EHR. 
  • (5) Actively engage with a public health agency to submit electronic health information.

Source: American Hospital Association