Stage II of the meaningful use program has not been as successful as stage I, partly because of the increasingly stringent attestation requirements. Compared to the more than 2300 hospitals that attested for stage I, only 840 hospitals have successfully done so as of November 1 (Reported by Healthcare Informatics, November 2014). That number constitutes only about 17% of the nation’s hospitals and it is definitely lower than what CMS and ONC would have liked to see.
For those hospitals and providers who may have just missed the deadline (which was November 30 for 2014), CMS has extended the last date for submitting meaningful use data to the end of this month. This means that many organizations can still successfully attest for stage II by transmitting data before December 31, 2014. Providers who successfully complete attestation in 2014, will not only receive incentives for this year but will also avoid the Medicare payment adjustment (i.e. 1% less for Medicare payments) for 2016.
Extending the deadline should give a little more breathing room for some providers. Practices have had to deal with a lot of regulations and federal health programs apart from meaningful use this year. While some may argue that extending the deadline will only encourage providers to delay submitting the data, it can make a huge difference for practices that have completed 90% of the work and just need a little more time to actually submit the data.
On the other hand, this extension allowed by CMS at the last moment is not likely to be enough for some industry associations which have been demanding for more flexibility in the meaningful use program for a while now. Citing the low numbers of providers and hospitals that have attested for meaningful use stage II, the AMA, CHIME, HIMSS among others have repeatedly been asking for a shorter reporting period in 2015.
According to the schedule of ONC and CMS, providers and hospitals will have to submit meaningful use data for the entire 365 day period in 2015 compared to the 90 day reporting period required in 2014. Nevertheless it does not look like CMS will do so given that making such a drastic change would only encourage hospitals to become complacent about the meaningful use program.
Dovetail dental software is a 2014 certified software product that will allow dental practices to successfully navigate the meaningful use program. Apart from offering a flexible and always available cloud-based dental software system, our support team is always on hand to help you with attestation and collect the financial incentives you deserve.