On Friday, CMS released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for Stage 3, the next step in the implementation of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. Concurrently, ONC also announced the proposed 2015 Edition certification criteria for health IT products. Both proposed rules focus on the interoperability of data across systems, and make the EHR Incentive Programs simpler and more flexible.
The CMS NPRM specifies the Stage 3 requirements for eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals to qualify for Medicaid EHR incentive payments and avoid Medicare payment adjustments in 2018 and beyond. ONC’s proposed rule outlines the certification and standards to help providers meet the proposed Stage 3 requirements with a 2015 Edition CEHRT.
Note: Medicare incentive payments end in 2016 and Medicaid providers are not subject to payment adjustments.
Proposed Stage 3 Requirements
The CMS proposed rule would streamline Stage 3 of the EHR Incentive Programs and allow providers more flexibility for reporting by:
- Establishing a single, aligned reporting period for all providers based on the calendar year
- Aligning quality data for reporting via a single submission method for multiple CMS programs
- Simplifying meaningful use reporting requirements to eight objectives that focus on advanced use of EHR technology and quality improvement
The Stage 3 proposed rule’s scope is limited to the requirements and criteria for meaningful use in 2017 and beyond. CMS is pursuing additional changes to meaningful use beginning in 2015 through separate rulemaking.
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