CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt Announces Phase Out of Meaningful Use

Speaking at the  J.P. Morgan Annual Health Care Conference on Jan. 11, 2016, Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt announced that CMS is in the process of ending Meaningful Use and moving to a new regime culminating with the MACRA implementation.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (also known as MACRA) was signed into law by the President on April 2015.

MACRA highlights:

  • Repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate methodology for determining updates to the Medicare physician fee schedule;
  • Establishes annual positive or flat fee updates for 10 years and institutes a two-tracked fee update afterwards;
  • Establishes a Merit-Based Incentive Payment System that consolidates existing Medicare fee-for-service physician incentive programs;
  • Establishes a pathway for physicians to participate in alternative payment models, including the patient-centered medical home; and
  • Makes other changes to existing Medicare physician payment statutes.


Slavitt was quoted as saying, “The Meaningful Use program as it has existed, will now be effectively over and replaced with something better.”

Full comments from Slavitt’s presentation were made available on the CMS Blog:

Since late last year we have been working side by side with physician organizations across many communities — including with great advocacy from the AMA — and have listened to the needs and concerns of many. We will be putting out the details on this next stage over the next few months, but I will give you a themes guiding our implementation.

For one, the focus will move away from rewarding providers for the use of technology and towards the outcome they achieve with their patients.

Second, providers will be able to customize their goals so tech companies can build around the individual practice needs, not the needs of the government. Technology must be user-centered and support physicians, not distract them.

Third, one way to aid this is by leveling the technology playing field for start-ups and new entrants. We are requiring open APIs in order to the physician desktop can be opened up and move away from the lock that early EHR decisions placed on physician organizations so that allow apps, analytic tools, and connected technologies to get data in and out of an EHR securely.

And finally, we are deadly serious about interoperability. We will begin initiatives in collaboration with physicians and consumers toward pointing technology to fill critical use cases like closing referral loops and engaging a patient in their care. And technology companies that look for ways to practice “data blocking” in opposition to new regulations will find that it won’t be tolerated.

(CMS, 1/12)

What are your thoughts on the Meaningful Use Program being phased out and replaced by MACRA?


3 responses to "CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt Announces Phase Out of Meaningful Use"
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  • January 30, 2016
    Ronald Sims, M.D.

    Does CMS require us to meet Meaningful Use in 2016?
    Will people now on stage II ever have to do stage III?
    When will CMS make all this clear?

  • March 10, 2016
    Thomas Stringham

    Dr. Sims, it appears that Meaningful Use is still a requirement under MACRA. ONC has stated that they aim to roll our proposed regulations by the spring. Here’s a quote from a recent posting on Medium by Andy Slavitt and Karen DeSalvo:

    “The approach to meaningful use under MACRA won’t happen overnight. Our goal in communicating our principles now is to give everyone time to plan for what’s next and to continue to give us input. We encourage you to look for the MACRA regulations this year; in the meantime, our existing regulations — including meaningful use Stage 3 — are still in effect.”

    You can read the full article here:

    We will continue to keep you posted on MACRA through AmericanEHR.

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