Not So Fast: CMS Says Meaningful Use Not Dead, New Incentive Program Will Take Time

Mike Miliard | Healthcare Finance | January 20, 2016

Andy Slavitt, Karen DeSalvo say current law still in effect, though transition to MACRA is coming.

One week after Andy Slavitt said meaningful use would be replaced soon, the acting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator and national coordinator Karen DeSalvo made it clear that the changes would take time and that providers must still follow the current program. Slavitt and DeSalvo in a blog post Tuesday afternoon explained the new regulatory framework would move away from measuring clicks to focusing on care.

Two big changes have helped cause this shift from measuring technology adoption levels to looking for quality outcomes, they wrote. First was HHS' ambitious goal, announced about a year ago, that 30 percent of Medicare payments be linked to value-based care in 2016, and 50 percent by 2018. The second was the passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, or MACRA, which holds quality, cost and clinical practice improvements as key factors in determining how Medicare physician payments are doled out.

"While MACRA also continues to require that physicians be measured on their meaningful use of certified EHR technology for purposes of determining their Medicare payments," Slavitt and DeSalvo wrote, "it provides a significant opportunity to transition the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for physicians towards the reality of where we want to go next."...