por Loren Bonner
, DOTmed News Online Editor | May 09, 2014
During a government Health IT Policy Committee meeting this week, officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that only four out of 30 eligible hospitals met stage 2 meaningful use requirements for 2014.
CMS already extended the deadline one year — to 2014 instead of 2013 — for providers who demonstrated meaningful use in 2011 and 2012. This was intended to give them ample time to put in place new EHRs that vendors were developing to comply with meaningful use stage 2 rules.
Under stage 2, to qualify for Medicare incentive payments, eligible professionals must meet 17 core objectives and half of the six so-called menu objectives. Eligible hospitals must meet 16 core objectives and half of the 6 menu objectives.
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In Stage 1, providers and hospitals had to meet 15 core objectives and half of the 10 menu objectives.
Providers also have to meet nine out of 64 clinical quality measures, and eligible hospitals 16 out of 29 CQMs.
To qualify for stage 2, providers must also order at least 30 percent of radiology, 30 percent of labs and 60 percent of medication through a computerized order entry.
The low numbers of hospitals attesting to stage 2 are troubling because eligible hospitals will not only face significant future financial penalties but also suffer lower Medicare reimbursements.
Eligible hospitals and providers as well as EHR vendors only have about five months left to meet stage 2 requirements.
In a statement, the American Hospital Association said it has urged the Department of Health and Human Services to extend the regulatory timelines for 2014 meaningful use and to allow all providers greater flexibility in meeting stage 2 requirements.