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Senate Urges Stage 3 Delay

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has formally requested that the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services should delay the final implementation of Stage 3 of Meaningful Use.

Sen. Alexander, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, has suggested for Stage 3 to be delayed until January 2017 and that it should be phased into effect in a manner that reflects how successfully the overall program has been utilized and implemented.

Alexander cited concerns from the health care community, including physician groups, who have stated that they are unable to meet the increase demands required under Meaningful Use. Physicians also raised concerns regarding the potential reimbursement penalties that will be imposed if they are unable to meet the requirements.

Alexander's proposed delay of the program would allow for Stage 3 requirements to be phased into effect beginning in 2017, although implementation would depend on how many providers and hospitals have actually met the Stage 2 requirements. In his formal request to Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the chairman also requested that HHS publish a final rule that would ease the requirements for Stage 2.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons participated in a meeting with HELP staff in advance of the hearing, during which time it joined its partners in the Alliance of Specialty Medicine in relaying concerns that were mirrored in Senator Alexander's position. ASPS also recently signed a coalition letter led by the American Medical Association addressed to Secretary Burwell which detailed concerns regarding the ongoing implementation of Meaningful Use, citing that less than 10 percent of physicians have successfully participated in MU Stage 2.