What if Your EHR Isn't Certified for Meaningful Use Stage 2?

Neil Chesanow


November 05, 2013

In This Article

What if Your EHR Can't Do Stage 2?

If your EHR can't meet stage 2 meaningful use requirements, pressure your vendor for a realistic date for when the upgrade will occur, suggests Ronald B. Sterling, MBA, President of Sterling Solutions, a health information technology consultant in Silver Spring, Maryland.

"If your vendor's messed up, I would first stay on top of the vendor to find out what the heck is going on," he says. "Are they ever going to be able to do it?"

Also write to CMS, which administers the meaningful use program, Sterling urges. What are you supposed to do? You bought an EHR that was certified. You shouldn't be penalized for vendor failures beyond your control. Ask CMS to extend the deadline for meeting stage 2 criteria.

With letters to this effect from the AMA, AHA, ACP, and MGMA already on the spike, you may wonder whether this is a futile gesture.

"We're pretty skeptical that the deadline will be extended at this point," says Peters. "Maybe later this year."

"Our feeling about why they wouldn't extend it has more to do with political process than whether it's a good or a bad idea," Peters elaborates. "ONC is in the midst of a transformation. They've just appointed a new director. They have some very strict goals that they've been trying to hit. They've been hitting them. My feeling is that they will wait and see how bad the fallout is before they decide to extend the deadline."

But a deadline extension is no help if your vendor still can't upgrade your EHR in time to meet it. If it can't, you have 3 options, Peters says: Go back to using paper charts; continue to use your current EHR, but drop out of the meaningful use program, lose the bonuses, absorb the penalties, and kiss membership in a patient-centered medical home or Accountable Care Organization goodbye; or do what many doctors have been telling surveyors that they are planning to do anyway: Get a new EHR.[5]


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