CMS Announces Phase Out of Meaningful Use

Speaking at the J.P. Morgan Annual Health Care Conference on Jan. 11, Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announced that CMS is in the process of phasing out the Meaningful Use program to make way for a new, more modernized program.

“The Meaningful Use program as it has existed, will now be effectively over and replaced with something better,” commented Slavitt.

The Meaningful Use program will be replaced by the Merit-based Incentive Program which was signed into law with the passing of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). At its most basic level, MACRA brings pay for value into the mainstream promoting the measurement of physicians in four categories – quality, cost, the use of technology, and practice improvement.  

CMS will be putting out more details on the program in the coming months, but Slavitt provided some themes guiding implementation during his speech:

For one, the focus will move away from rewarding providers for the use of technology and towards the outcome they achieve with their patients.

Second, providers will be able to customize their goals so tech companies can build around the individual practice needs, not the needs of the government. Technology must be user-centered and support physicians, not distract them.

Third, one way to aid this is by leveling the technology playing field for start-ups and new entrants. We are requiring open APIs in order to the physician desktop can be opened up and move away from the lock that early EHR decisions placed on physician organizations so that allow apps, analytic tools, and connected technologies to get data in and out of an EHR securely.

And finally, we are deadly serious about interoperability. We will begin initiatives in collaboration with physicians and consumers toward pointing technology to fill critical use cases like closing referral loops and engaging a patient in their care. And technology companies that look for ways to practice “data blocking” in opposition to new regulations will find that it won’t be tolerated.

To read the complete transcript of Slavitt's speech, click here

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