- The White House has received the soon-to-be proposed rules for the third stage of the Meaningful Use EHR incentive program, according to the Office of Management and Budget website.
- The Stage 3 rules the OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is reviewing should relax the all-or-nothing tone of the Stage 2 rules, which have proven to be particularly difficult for small medical practices to meet. The proposed Stage 3 guidelines would also make changes to the reporting period, timelines and structure of the program.
- The OMB is also proposing a single definition to the term and concept of "Meaningful Use."
As we reported earlier this week, Congress is going to start digging in on Meaningful Use, and it is expected that they will ease up the more draconian measures of Stage 2. While this is a worthy effort, certain aspects of this process seem like something out of a satirical movie about government.
Congress has already spent $28 billion to create incentives for the adoption and integration of EHRs in the healthcare industry, and the regulatory body overseeing that process has just now announced that it will define the term upon which the entire program is based. It's long overdue: After all, defining Meaningful Use rules after billions of dollars have been spent on incentives seems a bit tardy, to put it kindly.
Making rules to define other rules so you can come up with a plan to maybe get something done by 2017 (when Stage 3 is supposed to kick in) doesn't sound like a winning strategy for an industry that is fighting crises on multiple fronts. Let's hope regulators get it right this time around.