Payment rules, MU3 on collision course?

Payment rules, MU3 on collision course?

‘It boils down to usability and interoperability … Let’s finish those and make sure they are working really well before we build something new.’

Can the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System and meaningful use stage 3 co-exist? Or will they essentially cripple providers?

We’ll find out. But at this point there’s little evidence to suggest it will be simple or straightforward.

Meaningful use stage 3, with an entire saga of its own, is part of the HITECH Act passed in 2009 to incentivize electronic health record adoption. The more recently adopted MIPS is part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) passed last March to replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) method of reimbursing Medicare physicians, begun in 1997.

Congress had good intentions in passing both laws. One meant to advance the adoption of EHRs and, hence, improve health and contain costs. The other, a long time coming, is meant to remedy a broken reimbursement method. But when they both kick in, difficulties are likely to arise in implemenation and timing of the two measures.

Enough confusion exists that industry leaders are already wondering whether meaningful use stage 3 and MIPS can be implemented simultaneously.

“That is the billion-dollar question,” said Steven Waldren, MD, director of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Center for Health IT.

One problem is both Stage 3 and MIPS need very specific health IT capabilities, and the meaning use kinks have yet to be been ironed out. Eligible providers currently await a revision of its requirements, which then must be performed on a very tight schedule.

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