AHA letter urges Congress to enact Meaningful Use Flexibility Law

In a recent letter to congress, top American Hospital Association (AHA) members urge for the enactment of the Meaningful Use Flexibility Law. Along with the praise of the Electronic Health Record Regulator Relief Act, the letter argues for an urgent need to change requirements for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.

Giving support for the Electronic Health Record Regulatory Relief Act (S. 3173), the AHA states that the act would guarantee patients receive top quality care by allowing participants in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs to be labeled “meaningful users” as long as they meet at least 70 percent of the measures. These changes to the EHR incentive programs mean the dropping from “all or nothing” to 70 percent the payment penalty can be avoided.

“This is unfair to hospitals that make good faith efforts to comply, may actually comply with a large percentage of the requirements, expend significant resources and funds in doing so, but still fall short,” states the letter. “The bill also would allow hospitals a 90-day EHR reporting period in 2016 and beyond and extends flexibility in applying hardship exceptions for meaningful use. The AHA supports allowing a 90-day reporting period in every year. This will be especially important in 2018, which is slated to be the first year of Stage 3.”

The letter also notes the changes of the meaningful use program in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) allowing for more flexibility in use in regard to technology when providing care. AHA states that as the changes become implemented, the requirements and standards should remain set across providers and hospitals. By protecting the exchanging of information, care is improved for all providers and patients from the top to the bottom of the healthcare mountain.