Good Things Come To Those Who WaitThe article in American Medical News points out that physicians who attest today would need to still prove they meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 criteria next year. The thing is, Stage 2 criteria is still in its proposal stage and has not yet been officially posted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). When will Stage 2 be officially defined? Well...we're not sure yet. Most likely by the end of the summer this year. That means the physician has from now until April of next year to meet Stage 2's requirements with just a general idea to go off of. Once the final draft of the definitions are posted, that leaves maybe, what, 7 or 8 months to make sure everything is in place? Do you see how the question whether to wait might be an issue?
Everyone likes free money, but physicians really shouldn't feel rushed to attest as soon as humanly possible. They actually have until the end of 2012 to register to receive the full amount - $44,000 for Medicare or $63,750 from Medicaid. Why not wait until the Stage 2 requirements are officially posted and then kill two birds with one stone by implementing EHR technology and practices that meets Stage 2? Physicians will still receive incentive payments for five years like those who attested in 2011. Waiting could save money, time and headaches by not having to makes changes in software and hardware if Stage 2's final draft differs greatly from the proposal.