Who is impacted by the move of Stage 2 Meaningful Use?

On November 30, 2011 HHS announced that they approve of the proposed push of Stage 2 Meaningful Use from 2013 to 2014 that has been talked about since July of this year. But who does this decision really impact? Well, hospitals for one—if they attested to 90 days of meaningful use in Federal Fiscal Year 2011 (10/1/2010-9/30/2011) by November 30, 2011—60 days post end of Federal Fiscal Year. And, Eligible Providers, if they attested to 90 days of Meaningful Use within the 2011 Calendar Year by February 29, 2012--60 days post end of Calendar Year. With Stage 2 not getting finalized until 2012 with a planned start of 2013 (10/1/2012 for Hospitals and 1/1/2013 for Eligible Providers) not a lot of time was left for vendors to meet the requirements, gain certification and Hospitals and Eligible Providers to upgrade to the appropriate certified version to start their yearlong reporting period that Stage 2 requires. So it makes sense to push out the start of Stage 2, but why was the following called out in the press release?

“To encourage faster adoption, the Secretary announced that HHS intends to allow doctors and hospitals to adopt health IT this year, without meeting the new standards until 2014. Doctors who act quickly can also qualify for incentive payments in 2011 as well as 2012.”

The press release came out on the last day a hospital could attest to Stage 1 Meaningful Use in 2011 so not sure how this announcement will encourage faster adoption by hospitals? As for Doctors ‘acting quickly’ unless they started their reporting period on 10/1/2011 (the last 90 day period of the calendar year); they would not be able to attest in 2011, so what are they acting quickly on?

As of September 30, 2011 3,724 eligible providers and 147 hospitals have been paid through the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. I’d be interested in hearing if HHS thinks this is good progress or were they expecting more?

What do you think?