On Friday, August 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued their final rule on Meaningful Use (MU) reporting, announcing that providers will have until next year to comply with Stage 2 requirements.
Just as they had delayed ICD-10 earlier this year because of general unreadiness among the industry, CMS began considering a similar extension for MU Stage 2 after a proposal in May determined that only four hospitals in the United States had achieved Stage 2 compliance. The difficulty many providers and vendors had with upgrading their chiropractic EHR and other EHR software prompted CMS to push the Stage 2 deadline back to next year. Now, practices and clinics will be able to use a combination of 2011 and 2014 certified EHR systems for their MU reporting needs. Stage 2 stipulates that providers strictly use 2014 certified EHR technology, a condition that will now go only into effect in 2015.
Industry news source iHealthBeat reports that this delay should offer providers more flexibility on e-prescriptions, public health data reports, patient drug allergy checks and clinical summaries for patients who request them.
But while CMS acquiesced to the deadline request after pressure from providers and vendors, many of these same groups now criticize the federal agency for making a decision that amounts to too little, too late. While the ICD-10 delay was for a full 365 days, the MU Stage 2 extension only accounts for the rest of 2014, which at this point stands at under four months. Providers will still need to adhere to Stage 2 standards as early as January 1, 2015, offering very little time between then and now to upgrade their chiropractic EHR software.
Clinics are encouraged to invest in the best chiropractic EHR software today so that they'll be ready for Stage 2 compliance by the time 2015 rolls around.