Published on the Feb. 27, 2012 DiagnosticImaging.com website
By Whitney L.J. Howell
After being left out of the first phase of the meaningful use program, medical imaging was included in the proposed Stage 2 rule CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator released last week. Industry leaders are cautiously optimistic about how the rules will affect radiology, but they caution that providers shouldn’t act yet in response to the proposal.
Set to take effect in 2014, Stage 2 is considered by healthcare leaders to be a step toward a standards-based health information exchange, and officials announced imaging will also be included in the 2014 proposed rule for electronic health record (EHR) certification requirements. Providers who meaningfully use EHRs, based on the guidelines, qualify for $44,000 in federal incentive payments.
However, there could be some wiggle room for how strictly radiologists will need to adhere to those guidelines.
“The good news is that there’s mention of potential concessions for hospital-centric eligible professionals,” said Keith Dreyer, DO, chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) IT and Informatics Committee-Government Relations Subcommittee and radiology vice chair at Massachusetts General Hospital. “It shows that the agencies have really paid attention to the uniqueness of specialties, such as radiology, and they are understanding that some challenges will exist when we try to comply.”
For example, many hospital-based providers are not included in and have no influence over their facility’s information technology decisions. This position could render them unable to comply with some meaningful use requirements. In the Stage 2 proposed rule, CMS has granted these practitioners an exemption.
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Published on DiagnosticImaging.com on April 13, 2011
By Whitney L.J. Howell
Industry comments on the draft criteria for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program are in. Now specialty leaders and practices are waiting with bated breath see if Stage 2 recommendations offer any clarity on how radiologists will be required to implement electronic health record systems (EHRs).
As it stands now, specialty leaders aren’t holding out much hope the Stage 2 guidelines — which have no mention of imaging — will differ much from the uniform approach taken with Stage 1.
“The overall view is that the one-size-fits-all tactic will largely continue to be the case,” said Michael Peters, director of legislative and regulatory affairs for the American College of Radiology. “We’ve asked for specialty-specific paths because it’s the right thing to do, but we don’t anticipate that the federal agencies will have the time to noodle around and create pathways for all specialties.”
Without knowing the final recommendations from CMS, it’s impossible for radiology practices to effectively prepare for Stage 2 implementation, he said. Proposed rules are expected by late 2011 or early 2012.
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