Providers, lawmakers press the CMS for 90-day reporting period

Providers, lawmakers press the CMS for 90-day reporting period

On the heels of healthcare organizations across the country pressing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to adopt a 90-day reporting period for meaningful use, U.S. Senators and Representatives followed suit this week. According to Healthcare IT News, lawmakers proposed a bill on Apr. 20, that would reduce the meaningful use reporting period from one year to three months. Introducing the bipartisan legislation were Reps. Renee Ellmers, Tom Price, Bobby Rush and Ron Kind, and Sens. Rob Portman and Michael Bennet.

Shortening the reporting period
Full-year reporting for 2016 would require extensive costs and changes to systems, reported Healthcare IT News. Thus, many providers are backing the legislation, claiming that it is critical in saving many from financial penalties. Last year, the CMS shortened the reporting period from 365 days to 90 days, according to a press release. As a final rule for the EHR Incentives Program in 2015, the CMS gave eligible professionals the option to select an EHR reporting period of any continuous 90 day period between January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.

The CMS has lengthened the EHR reporting period to a full calendar for 2016, that began on Jan. 1. All eligible professionals, CAHs and eligible hospitals that had not yet successfully exemplified meaningful use in the year prior, were still given a 90-day period.

CHIME, and others write letter to CMS
Many healthcare organizations have already pushed the CMS for the change, according to FierceEMR. On Mar. 15, a letter to CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt pressed for a shortened reporting period. A collection of 34 groups signed the letter, including College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the National Rural Health Association, the Medical Group Management Association and the Federation of American Hospitals. The alliance also requested that organizations be given any continuous 90-day period, as they were granted in 2015.

"Doing so will continue the significant progress providers are making to harness the use of technology to succeed in new payment and care delivery models," the signatories wrote. "Further, announcing this as soon as possible will reduce the number of providers who will feel compelled to rely on filing for a hardship."

Another recent, but separate, announcement from CHIME highlighted the challenges that will exist in meeting requirements if the change is not made. Moreover, they said that the extensive reporting period will greatly hinder the amount of time vendors and providers alike can spend improving information exchange, as well as interoperability.

Noting that it would be a preliminary, yet crucial step, the signatories wrote that the lack of time to improve usability would leave providers with little baseline data for quality reporting in the event that they're unable to report this year, according to FierceEMR. Additionally, it would make it much more difficult for providers to move toward the Medicare Access and CHIPS Reauthorization Act, an act that is big part of the move toward value-based payments in the healthcare industry.