A bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators and Representatives have introduced a bill to limit to 90 day meaningful use reporting periods for hospitals, physicians and other eligible professionals.
Bill co-sponsor Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), who is also a nurse, said in a statement that, “Today's bipartisan and bicameral legislation is critical to the ongoing conversation about how to best serve patients and supply relief to the provider community.”
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, the Medical Group Management Association, the Federation of American Hospitals and other industry stakeholders support the bill.
Many of the organizations wrote the CMS earlier this year, asking for a 90-day reporting period for 2016.
HHS released its latest set of rules for the now $32.3 billion EHR incentive payment program last October.
The meaningful use rule included a 60-day public comment, unusual for a so-called "final rule."
Facing depleted incentive funds and looming Medicare payment penalty bumps, providers, and subsequently, members of Congress have pushed back on the Obama administration, asking for more flexibility.
One call, for example, by several groups, including the American College of Cardiology, asked CMS to scrap full-year reporting periods for meaningful-use metrics, replacing them with 90-day periods.
A bill signed into law on Dec. 28 gave the CMS authority to batch process hardship applications by categories. It also pushed back filing deadlines for hardship exemptions and permitted the agency to accept filings for exemptions even after those dates on a case-by-case basis.
Then in February, the CMS announced it was further extending the deadline for filing hardship exemptions until July 1 this year.
Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, said in the same statement that “cumbersome government regulations” shouldn't detract providers from focusing on patient care. “This bipartisan bill will help providers adopt new health IT by cutting red tape and ensuring they can focus their resources on delivering care to patients.”