par Brendon Nafziger
, DOTmed News Associate Editor | August 24, 2012
Some major health care societies and vendors seemed, at least initially, mostly pleased by changes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made to its final stage 2 meaningful use rules, released Thursday, with nearly all happy about the one-year delay in starting the next stage of meaningful use requirements.
MGMA-ACMPE, an association for medical group practices, said CMS' decision to delay the first possible attestation period for stage 2 until 2014 was a "necessary step" to give providers time to implement new systems. The group also said that the new group reporting option and the lowering of some objective thresholds would help "reduce administrative burden."
"MGMA is pleased that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services responded to our concerns regarding several of the proposed stage 2 meaningful use requirements," MGMA president and CEO Dr. Susan Turney said in a statement.
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American Health Information Management Association, a health information management professional body, said it was still mulling over the 600-plus page document, but so far the society said it was "encouraged" that the rules call for patients to have better online access to their health records.
"We believe patients must be partners and work side-by-side with their providers to achieve the best possible health care outcomes," AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon said in a statement.
In its response, HIMSS said it was still assessing the clinical quality measures and other aspects of the rule, while noting that it appears to adopt, and agree with, a number of their suggestions on the proposed rule, which was released in March.
As with most of the other groups, HIMSS also appeared to support the one-year delay, saying it would "maximize the number of eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals prepared to meet stage 2 requirements."
Vendor, GPO reaction
At least one vendor and group purchasing organization were also fairly positive about the results.
In a press release, Premier Healthcare Alliance applauded the implementation delay, with Blair Childs, senior vice president of public affairs with the GPO, noting that the "more manageable approach" gives hospitals "additional flexibility."
Siemens Healthcare's John Glaser, the CEO of the company's health services wing, also said he was "encouraged" by the "diligent work" and "thoughtful consideration" to the 6,100 responses shown by CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
"As we have said before, this is an unprecedented decade for health care providers and the outpouring of responses is indicative of the impact that will be precipitated by meaningful use stage 2," he said in a statement.