CHIME questions new meaningful use proposals

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Reporting, product certification and implementation deadlines represent major concerns that could affect efforts to effectively implement EHRs under the recently proposed federal regulations, according to a statement by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based CHIME is beginning a review of provisions of the recently released regulations to implement health IT provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) for their potential impact on widespread implementation of EHRs.

According to the college, the current implementation schedule places pressure on hospitals that delay implementation of EHRs, because by 2015 all hospitals and eligible providers would need to meet Stage 3 criteria to avoid payment penalties. CHIME reported that it favored the phased approach where meaningful use criteria will apply to hospitals whenever they are eligible.

Reporting requirements and additional quality measures will be burdensome, according to the organization. “[M]any of the measures will require organizations to gather information that spans both electronic and paper-based systems, such as the percentage of orders entered through computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems,” said CHIME.

Additionally, quality reporting provisions of the regulation will require hospitals to develop reporting capabilities, since only nine of the 35 quality measures being proposed in the regulations currently are in use in the Medicare pay-for-reporting program, according to CHIME.

CHIME also stated that the use of Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) indicators for reporting quality data will be a major challenge for physicians as the proposed regulations indicate that medical groups that qualify for stimulus funding no longer will be eligible for the 2 percent bonus for reporting PQRI data.

The proposed regulation that stipulates that hospital-based physicians will not be eligible to receive stimulus payments creates a disincentive for healthcare systems and teaching programs from investing in ambulatory records systems for these physician groups, said CHIME.

CHIME plans to survey members to seek their input on the regulations, and the college is encouraging all concerned parties to comment on the proposed regulations.