Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Could Stage 2 of Meaningful Use be a Two-Step Process?

An idea floating around Washington could result in Stage 2 of the electronic health records meaningful use program being different in each of its two years.

That’s what Dan Rode, vice president of advocacy and policy at the American Health Information Management Association, told an audience during the AHIMA 2011 Convention & Exhibit in Salt Lake City.

Stage 2 starts in October 2012 for hospitals and January 2013 for eligible professionals, just when providers will be struggling to meet the ICD-10 deadline in October 2013.

So the scenario could be that Stage 2 starts in January 2013 with minor changes from Stage 1, such as raising meaningful use quality measures a bit. But any major changes or new requirements, such as requiring the use of SNOMED CT in certain parts of the medical record, would wait until 2014, Rode said.

Other regulatory and policy updates from Rode and others on the AHIMA policy team include:

* The association is working with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to extend meaningful use to long-term care and mental health providers to accommodate accountable care organizations;

* Some degree of data encryption could be in Stage 2 criteria;

* The Office of the National Coordinator wants to begin building Stage 3 requirements in January 2013 to give providers more time to comply by 2015;

* The industry is unlikely to see the omnibus HIPAA privacy/security/breach notification/enforcement rule until late this year or early next year;

* The final accounting of disclosures rule may come out absent provisions that give patients the right to an access report about who has accessed their electronic health records;

* Efforts are moving forward to add the receipt confirmation transaction to the HIPAA set of financial and administrative transactions;

* Medicare will accept all diagnoses codes on claims starting in January 2012 rather than having the number capped, so over time attachment requests should fall;

* AHIMA is working with members of Congress to get the General Accountability Office to do a study on patient identifiers and to get lawmakers to remove the annual prohibition on funding for an identifier;

* Congress is unlikely to adopt a fiscal 2013 federal budget next year with a continuing resolution being passed to keep funding at 2012 levels; and

* Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) is drafting legislation to provide a degree of liability protection for use of certified EHRs, limit e-discovery to an actual event to prevent fishing through an entire EHR system for possible safety issues, and require the reporting of I.T. safety events. AHIMA won’t develop a position of support or opposition until the bill comes out.

Joseph Goedert
HDM Breaking News, October 5, 2011

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