Health IT, Policy

Has the demise of Meaningful Use been greatly exaggerated?

The Meaningful Use rules still, by law, account for 25 percent of physician scores in the new MIPS program, and EHR certification remains in place.


Maybe it is too soon to declare Meaningful Use dead after all.

Health IT consultant Brian Ahier summed it up succinctly:

Indeed, the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System, which is replacing the hated Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate, consolidates the the Physician Quality Reporting System, Meaningful Use and the recently implemented Medicare value-based payment modifier as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services accelerates the shift away fee-for-service.

Independent Meaningful Use audit specialist Jim Tate called out a bunch of news organizations — but not this one (phew!) — for prematurely burying the electronic health records incentive program.

“The MU concept will pop up in a myriad of ways in the years ahead. The definition of MU and [certified EHR technology] will most assuredly be redefined but it is not dead or even suffering from a head cold,” Tate wrote on the HITECH Answers blog.

Plus, MIPS only affects individual providers, not hospitals, as Naomi Leventhal, a health IT consultant with the Advisory Board Co., noted. Leventhal said that MU will “evolve” rather than die, since it’s written into law by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“However, CMS may move to align [eligible hospital] Meaningful Use so that the requirements are similar to those in the forthcoming revisions to the [eligible provider] program,” Leventhal wrote. She recommended that all providers stay on course at least for this year. “Providers that do not meet Meaningful Use in 2016 will forfeit any incentives due and are subject to payment adjustment in 2018,” she said.

It’s still anyone’s guess what the “something better” promised by acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt will be. And that’s why we encourage you to tweet your ideas with the hashtag #somethingbetter.

Photo: Flickr user Elena Gatti