Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that it is considering proposals to shorten the meaningful-use reporting period to 90 days in 2015. Providers have been requesting this change.
What does this mean?
This change would mean that providers could meet the meaningful-use requirements and in turn could avoid financial penalties with software in place for less time than what is currently required.
It is clear the providers are faced with the modernization of healthcare and improving efficiency in healthcare today. Many have turned to EMR and medical scribes to adapt to meaningful use as a whole, but extensions in the reporting period among other changes could help physicians transition smoothy and without hassles and headaches.
Experts and researchers have weighed in on this potential change.
President and CEO of The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, an organization that is an advocate for the changes in reporting period length, stated, "Meaningful use has the potential to be a transformative program for the nation's healthcare delivery system and we commend CMS for recognizing the need for a course-correction." Other groups have also praised CMS for looking into/and most likely changing the reporting window. The Medical Group Management Association and The American Medical Association praised the CMS for agreeing to modify the window, and they are pushing for CMS to issue the new rule quickly.
In addition, according to the Modern Healthcare article, CMS also is considering changing reporting periods to the calendar year to "allow eligible hospitals more time to incorporate 2014 Edition software into their workflows...and will modify other aspects of the program that may lessen providers' reporting burdens.
Also, CMS explained that the rulemaking on reporting period flexibilty will be separate from the upcoming third-stage meaningful-use rule, which is expected to come out in March.
Meaningful use takes some navigating by these physician groups. While CMS is doing its best to work with practices and hospitals to come out with the best-fit programs for healthcare as a whole, this space can be tough to handle in a busy healthcare environment. Medical scribes can lead to increased efficiency, and this has been proven in many practices and organizations. Scribes may be the answer to some of the problems physicians are facing in the switch to EMR. With supportive legislation from CMS and useful and beneficial programs by CMS, together with scribes, healthcare as a whole is on the path to becoming a more organized, high-tech sector.