Providers’ MU Prayers Answered?—Quarterly Reporting for 2015?

Meaningful Use

In the inimitable style of government-speak, CMS recently announced its “intention to consider proposals” to shorten the 2015 meaningful use reporting period from a full calendar year to 90 days. While I would advise providers to be cautious about changing their plans until the relevant rule is published (anticipated in the spring), I think it is fair to assume that CMS would not have issued even such a noncommittal-sounding announcement if it were not planning to actually implement this change.

CMS has finally yielded to the relentless lobbying by the AMA and an alphabet soup of other professional societies and HIT organizations, all of which remain concerned about provider readiness and the challenges presented by an insufficient infrastructure to support Stage 2 requirements. Objections to full-year reporting for 2015 date back to last spring, when comments were submitted in response to the (then-proposed) 2014 Flexibility Rule. At that point, CMS adamantly rejected the overwhelming number of comments that recommended—or pleaded for—quarterly 2015 reporting. Currently, however, in addition to this external pressure, the dismal number of Stage 2 attestations to date has got to have CMS worried about the future of its MU program.

The devil, as always, will be in the details:

  • When will the rule be available, and will its timing be early enough to avoid creating the aura of uncertainty that characterized last year’s mid-year revisions? (We are already one month into the 2015 physicians’ reporting period, four months into the hospitals’.)
  • Would quarterly reporting be available to all providers, even those still at Stage 1?
  • What happens to “harmonization’ with PQRS, which remains a full-year program? (This has been one of the reasons CMS has stated for its resistance to quarterly reporting.)

Even more intriguing to me than the change in reporting period is the second of the three proposals enumerated as being under consideration—that is, the intention to modify other aspects of the program to match long-term goals, reduce complexity, and lessen providers’ reporting burdens.” Is it possible that CMS is taking the advice of the AMA and other organizations to increase flexibility, reduce the number of measures, add more choice, and maybe even eliminate the all-or-nothing nature of MU? Wouldn’t that be something!

Let us know what you think by submitting a comment below.

Lynn Scheps

Lynn Scheps

VP, Government Affairs & Consulting Services at SRS Health
Lynn Scheps is a leading resource on MACRA, MIPS, and Meaningful Use. She is the SRS liaison with government policy makers. Representing the voice of specialists and other high-performance physicians, she develops strategies to respond effectively to government initiatives.
Lynn Scheps

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2 thoughts on “Providers’ MU Prayers Answered?—Quarterly Reporting for 2015?

  1. I find it absolutely impossible to satisfy meaningful use 2 because either my patients do not have email/computers or absolutely refuse to access their health records. In addition after looking at my dashboard on my electronic health record system it tells me that I haven’t done certain things like a retinal exam on a diabetic patient when I absolutely have. That is because in many cases the people that write the programs use convoluted language to define what we as physicians do, and hide it under a different heading. I can’t go back and touch up that record because it’s locked. When you write a chart you always had the possibility if there was an error in that chart of drawing a line through the error and then initialing. Most of the regulations and explanations done seem to be written in legalese that I cannot understand. When I ask colleague is what they are doing with the email issue, some of them are making up emails that the patient actually has no access to and then reading/answering themselves. I will not do that because I think that is fraud. Others are using their own personal email-again in my opinion fraudulent.

  2. We are a small surgical practice (two general surgeons) that are privately owned. We pay over 5,000. for rent 11,000. for malpractice insurance and have 3 full time, and 4 part time employees. It is always a struggle to make ends meet and the new EHR product that we had to purchase in order to meet the requirements has set us way back. The extra time it takes to enter all the data is just less time for the personal touch to the patients. I wish that the powers to be could spend a week with us to see how ludicrous their rules are. Pretty soon all the good physicians are going to quit and then who will take care of the people the computers!

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