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    MU2 attestation still sluggish as deadlines near

    Medical groups urge CMS to change meaningful use program

    Meaningful use 2 (MU2) attestation continues to be sluggish and some of the top medical societies say it is time that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Systems (CMS) provide more flexibility to the incentive program.

    CHECK OUT: Meaningful Use 2 Resource Center

    As of November 1, 11,478, or 2% of eligible professionals (EPs), and 840, or 17% of hospitals have attested to MU2. More than $25 billion has been paid to EPs and hospitals by CMS to incentivize them to participate in the meaningful use program.

    "The low number of EP attestations to date is clear evidence that physician practices and their vendor partners have faced significant challenges in meeting the more onerous Stage 2 requirements of meaningful use," said Anders M. Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs for the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

    A coalition including the American Medical Association (AMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the Healthcare Information and the Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and MGMA say that the rigid program requirements need to be shorted and simplified.

    "In addition to a shortened reporting period, CMS must end its one-size-fits all approach to achieve the goals of the Meaningful Use program, which are to create a secure and interoperable infrastructure," said AMA President Elect Steven J. Stack, MD in a press release. “We believe the stringent pass fail requirements for meeting Meaningful Use, combined with a tsunami of other overlapping regulations, are keeping physicians from participating in the meaningful use program.”

    In October, AMA released a set of suggestions to make the meaningful use program easier for providers and hospitals. The association suggested implementing a 50% threshold for incurring a penalty and a 75% threshold for earning an incentive in meaningful use stages 1 and 2.

    EPs and hospitals have until November 30 to apply for a hardship exception, and avoid MU2 penalties next year. As of July, CMS has received more than 44,000 applications.

    “If CMS continues to require a full-year of Meaningful Use reporting for 2015, we anticipate that large segments of providers will no longer be able to participate in the program—which hinders our nation's ability to improve the quality, safety, cost-effectiveness, and access to care,” says Carla Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS, executive vice president of HIMSS.

    Starting in 2015, EPs will see a 1% decrease in Medicare reimbursements for each year they don’t meet meaningful use requirements. The penalty will change by 1% point each year to a maximum of 5%. EPs have until the end of February 2015 to attest for MU2, and hospitals have until November 30, 2014. In July, CMS reported that 972 EPs and 10 hospitals attested to MU2.

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    • Dr. Al Borges MD
      You should mention that a physician has an alternative route to meaningful use attestation- just go "NONPAR" with Medicare. That way you force patients to pay you up-front and you get to pass on the penalties to your patients. The published NONPAR tables also allow you to charge slightly more per encounter. In fact, you should have a dedicated article on going NONPAR.

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