Under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), physicians and hospital organization were required under to attest to meaningful use, meaning that a certified version of EHR must be utilized. According to a proposal that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released on Tuesday, physicians would be given a break on the EHR requirement, allowing physicians to keep using their 2014 version of their current EHR through to next year.
Although this exception will be given to physicians, hospitals will still be required to have a certified 2015 version of EHR, as certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information. Hospitals will need to have the 2015 version of EHR by the end of 2017 in order to report data to the CMS by March 31, 2018. If a hospital does not submit data or does not report on time, they would face Medicare penalties.
One issue that hospitals will face when trying to implement an updated EHR system is that a majority of EHR vendors are not currently ready to deploy their certified 2015 EHR. According to the ONC’s Certified Health IT Product List, only 74 EHR products are certified as of June 20, 2017.
As requirements are changing, EHR developers must continue spending a lot of time to work on making the EHR products compliant, such as to specific API requirements.
Switching or upgrading an organization’s EHR takes time to implement and get accustomed to. For hospitals, this poses a bigger challenge, as EHR implementation can take up to eight months to process.
According to Mari Savickis, Vice President of Federal Affairs at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executive, the CMS could possible apply the same exception that they are giving to physicians to hospitals as well.
Read the original article from Modern Healthcare here.