Update: As a follow-up to his remarks at last week’s JP Morgan Annual Health Care Conference, Acting CMS Administrator Slavitt, joined by Acting HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Information Technology Karen DeSalvo, posted an entry on The CMS Blog yesterday.
Here are highlights:
Acting Administrator Slavitt and Acting Assistant Secretary DeSalvo also emphasized what they believe CMS and ONC signaled regarding future policy development. These anticipated developments will inform the role of health IT in support of payment reform in line with CMS’s overall policy goals to transform payment policies. Key points on this topic are as follows:
The takeaway? “Meaningful use as we know it seems to be the point of departure for MIPS and is not going away in the foreseeable future,” said John Travis, vice president, Regulatory and Compliance Strategy. “Acting Administrator Slavitt’s remarks focused on what is to come with the changes to physician payment under MACRA. Still, there is good reason to expect some commensurate changes for hospitals as well, both from Congress and from CMS.”
As suggested in earlier commentary, the key is to stay the course within existing legislation and regulation, to remain watchful and to read beyond the headlines.
A number of industry media outlets covered statements made by Andy Slavitt, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), on Monday, Jan.11 at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference indicating significant changes were in the future for Meaningful Use (MU). For reference, review “Meaningful use will likely end in 2016, CMS chief Andy Slavitt says” in HealthcareITNews.
“We believe that some of these media reports were misleading in their coverage,” said John Travis, vice president, Regulatory and Compliance Strategy, Cerner. For Eligible Professionals (EP), MU will become the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in a few years. For Eligible Hospitals (EH), there are no changes at this point. “MIPS is not the end of MU. MIPS is the beginning of a new regulatory program that includes provisions related to MU attestation,” Travis said.
Slavitt’s statements referred to pending regulatory developments on how the use of Certified Health Information Technology (CHIT) by EPs will be a component part of the MIPS under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.
Slavitt reinforced what we already know as to how use of CHIT will evolve over the next few years.
It is accurate to say that 2016 will be the last year for meaningful use as we know it for EPs. But Cerner emphasizes to clients and associates that the use of CHIT is central to many CMS program requirements, and if anything, is only becoming increasingly significant. There are also several details that remain to be defined:
CMS has indicated we should expect rule making for MIPS sometime in mid-2017 and observers expect to see details emerge regarding requirements for the use of CHIT under MIPS.
“We advise our clients to stay watchful of CMS policy developments as to the future requirements for the use of CHIT,” Travis said. “This does not mean the significance of CHIT is going to somehow go away. It likely means that how it is referenced and required will change, resulting in an improved scope of applicability for its use and appropriate scoping for what it must be used for.”