In a recent letter to CMS acting Administrator, Andy Slavitt, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has asked for a quick finalization of a 90-day reporting period for 2016 for a less prescriptive EHR Incentive Program that works best for providers.
Responding to CMS’s proposed rule for its “Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs”, HIMSS said that it is important to maintain meaningful use’s flexibility to focus on the main issues like data sharing and interoperability, which made 90-day reporting easy for eligible hospitals and professionals.
HIMSS Board Chair, Michael Zaroukian, and HIMSS CEO, H. Stephen Lieber, supported one-time hardship exception for new EPs in EHR Incentive Program in 2017, and practices changing to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System next year. The letter written to CMS further said that, “the changes made to the EHR Incentive Program for 2016 will not be finalized before the start of the year’s final possible 90-day reporting period and will create more confusion for providers.”
Leiber and Zaroukian pointed out that, as a result of delay in 90-day reporting for 2015, “many providers were not able to take advantage of the additional flexibilities,” and thus had to depend on the hardship exceptions. “In order to avoid a repeat in 2016, it is vital that the 90-day reporting period for 2016 be finalized as soon as possible,” they wrote. “If the promulgation of this Final Rule is similarly delayed, CMS must be prepared to provide the flexibility for hardship exceptions as was done in 2015.”
HIMMS also recommended CMS that to reduce the number of reports from the IT systems, it would be better to align reporting requirements for the “Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs” with MIPS. “Such a change will assist the program simplification CMS is seeking to achieve. One benefit of the MIPS performance category weighted structure is that it relieves providers of the burden of meeting a 3 variety of high measure thresholds that may not add value to their individual practice,” Lieber and Zaroukian said.
“Eliminating measures and adjusting thresholds is a good start toward what should be a much more cohesive convergence between the hospital EHR Incentive Program and the quality and Advancing Care Information components of MIPS in the future.”