In a blog post released earlier this week, CMS announced plans to retire the Meaningful Use program in favor of a new program under the Merit-based Payment System (MIPS). The new program is called Advancing Care Information (ACI) and focuses on three central priorities:
- Improved interoperability and the ability of physicians and patients to easily move and receive information from other physician’s systems;
- Increased flexibility in the Meaningful Use program; and
- User-friendly technology designed around how a physician works and interacts with patients.
Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Dr. Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT wrote in the blog, “Our goal with Advancing Care Information is to support the vision of a simpler, more connected, less burdensome technology. Compared to the existing Medicare Meaningful Use program for physicians, the new approach increases flexibility, reduces burden, and improves patient outcomes.” The program will:
- Allow physicians and other clinicians to choose to select the measures that reflect how technology best suits their day-to-day practice
- Simplify the process for achievement and provide multiple paths for success
- Align with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria
- Emphasize interoperability, information exchange, and security measures and require patients to access to their health information through of APIs
- Simplify reporting by no longer requiring all-or-nothing EHR measurement or quality reporting
- Reduce the number of measures to an all-time low of 11 measures, down from 18 measures, and no longer require reporting on the Clinical Decision Support and the Computerized Provider Order Entry measures
- Exempt certain physicians from reporting when EHR technology is less applicable to their practice and allow physicians to report as a group
Advancing Care Information would affect only Medicare payments to physician offices, not Medicare hospitals or Medicaid programs.
The proposal, if finalized, would replace the current Meaningful Use program and reporting would begin January 1, 2017. Over the next 60 days, the proposal will be available for public comment. It is summarized here and the full text is available here.