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From Health Law Daily, February 25, 2015

Meaningful use deadline extended as HHS pledges to listen to physician input

By Patricia K. Ruiz, J.D.

The deadline for compliance with the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program (meaningful use program) has been extended until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 20, 2015, according to an HHS announcement. This extension comes on the heels of a presentation given by HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell at the American Medical Association National Advocacy Conference, in which she acknowledged the large number of regulatory faced by physicians and stated that the agency would like to help restore the “joy of medicine.” In her talk, Burwell highlighted the efforts being taken to improve the health care system, including listening more closely to physicians regarding their concerns about meaningful use and other important issues.

Meaningful use. “We know you have some concerns when it comes to electronic health records (EHR), and we know that you often find them to be clunky,” Burwell said, “and we want to work with you to improve that usability so they can become a valuable tool.” She noted that, based on feedback from physicians indicating that the meaningful use program was too complex to implement in a short period of time, HHS announced plans to make the program more straightforward, flexible, and “focused on outcomes and interoperability.” (See CMS announces intention to ease up on EHR incentive program requirements, February 12, 2015).

Sustainable growth rate and care delivery. In response to concerns from physicians regarding the SGR formula—which would reduce physician payments when the current Medicare payment patch is set to expire on March 31, 2015, if Congress does not implement another delay—Burwell stated that the Obama Administration is seeking a permanent fix (see American Hospital Association asks Congress to oppose hospital Medicare cuts, February 6, 2015).

Burwell also stressed HHS’ commitment to improving the delivery of care, citing CMS’ Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, which awards $800 million for the creation of evidence-based, peer-led collaboratives and networks focused on practice transformation supporting the provision of high-quality care (see CMS updates FAQs for the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, February 2, 2015).

Companies: American Medical Association

MainStory: TopStory AgencyNews ReimbursementNews ComplianceNews EHRNews QualityNews

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