ACR: Stage 2 MU issued on aggressive timeline,' more to come

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The American College of Radiology (ACR) said the Stage 2 meaningful use (MU) final rules were released publically on “an unusually aggressive timeline,” but will otherwise wait to issue a further analysis.

“It will take some time to adequately review these lengthy regulatory documents and put together an initial analysis,” Keith J. Dreyer, DO, PhD, chair of the ACR IT and Informatics Committee, said in a statement.

“Our hope is that these regulations do not sacrifice the needs of specialists and our patients for the sake of expediency,” he added.

In the coming weeks, ACR will post online comprehensive information materials on the rules released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), according to Dreyer. Meaningful use Stage 2 will also be explored by the ACR IT and Informatics Committee at ACR’s second annual Informatics Summit on Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C.

ACR’s release pointed to a number of notable additions and omissions from the final rules, including:

  • An optional significant hardship exception for radiologists to avoid EHR Incentive Program penalties for a limited time.
  • An imaging accessibility related menu set objective for referring physicians with an exclusion that can be invoked by radiologists.
  • Computerized physician order entry requirements for referring physicians specific to radiology orders.
  • Increased flexibility in the definition of the term “office visits” and increased use of that term for providing exclusions from specific MU objectives.
  • Increased flexibility in the definition of “certified EHR technology” with an emphasis on specialty HIT products.
  • Removal of the ONC’s proposal to require that certified EHR technology provides the ability to download images and transmit to a third party. However, the ONC’s final rule includes the proposal to electronically indicate the availability of images/narrative interpretations and link to those items.