“This shortened reporting period would be an important first step in addressing the many challenges faced by doctors, hospitals and other medical providers due to the inflexible mandates of the meaningful-use program,” Ellmers said. “This legislation will reinforce investments made to date and will ensure continued momentum toward the goals of the meaningful-use program, including enhanced care coordination and interoperability.”
Earlier this week, 17 provider and professional organizations led by the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association sent a letter calling on HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to adopt the same 90-day reporting period for the EHR incentive payment program, warning that “program success hinges on addressing the 2015 reporting-period requirements.”
Russell Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, another signatory to the letter, hailed the Flex-IT Act's sponsors for acting to correct what he called a “misstep” in the current rule that “puts many eligible hospitals and physicians at risk of not meeting meaningful use next year and hinders the intended impact of the program.”
“With just two weeks remaining in the (2014) fiscal year, Congress' swift passage of the (Flex-IT Act) would help hundreds of thousands of providers meet Stage 2 requirements in an effective and safe manner, and ensure long-term vitality of the program itself,” Branzell said.
Eligible hospitals participating in the EHR incentive payment program, which was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, attest to meaningful-use requirements using the federal fiscal year, which for 2015 starts Oct. 1. Physicians and other professionals under the program use the calendar year beginning Jan. 1. So far, the program has paid out roughly $24.8 billion to nearly 411,000 providers to help them purchase, implement and meaningfully use EHR technology.
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