His letter made the following points:
- Hospitals have "experienced many difficulties in implementing automated quality reporting for Stage 1. Despite making tremendous investments to purchase technology and change workflows to input the needed data into the EHR they find that the resulting data are not useable."
- Vendors have needed to program many decisions into EHRs that were not included in the e-specifications" resulting in "rampant inconsistencies between different vendors" as well as inconsistent measure results" when the measures are compared.
- The measures' e-specifications "contain known errors and have never been field tested."
There's more, but you get the gist. I think that now, CMS and the NQF do too.
At the AHA's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. this week, CMS acting administrator Marilyn Tavenner addressed the crowd and promised to be flexible:
"We (CMS) obviously have a lot of work to do around meaningful use next stage," she said. "You have my commitment to be flexible, to listen, and try to move at a pace that works for you."
It surprises me that after so many smart people worked so long and spent so much time and money to get this process down, we've reached this mind-boggling point. But for anyone who works in Washington or in healthcare, it may not be surprising at all.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.