CMS issued a new proposed rule for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs to align Stage 1 and Stage 2 objectives and measures with the long-term proposals for Stage 3.
The modifications would allow providers to focus more closely on the advanced use of certified EHR technology to support health information exchange and quality improvement.
The new rule proposes a change in the reporting period for meaningful use from one year to 90 days in 2015.
Proposed Changes for EHR Incentive Programs
Together with the proposed Stage 3 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) issued on March 20, 2015, the proposed rules align and merge the “stages” of meaningful use requirements.
Overall, the proposed rule would:
- Realign the reporting period starting in 2015 to allow hospitals to participate on the calendar year instead of the current fiscal year period;
- Reduce the number of meaningful use objectives to improve advanced use of EHRs; and
- Remove redundant measures and those that have become widely adopted
One important change to take note of with Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements is in relation to patient engagement. CMS proposed reducing the requirement for patients to use technology to electronically download, view and transmit their medical records from 5% of eligible providers’ patients to just one patient.
In regard to the reporting period, CMS proposed:
- In 2015 and 2016, new meaningful use participants would be allowed to attest for any 90-day period within the calendar year;
- For 2015 only, all eligible providers would be allowed to attest for any 90-day period within the calendar year regardless of their previous participation;
- For 2015 only, all eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals would be allowed to attest for any 90-day period between Oct. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014, regardless of their previous participation;
- For 2016, all eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals who are first-time attesters would be allowed to attest for any 90-day period within the calendar year, while returning participants would use a full calendar year reporting period; and
- For 2017, all providers, regardless of their previous participation, would use a full calendar year reporting period as proposed in the Stage 3 proposed rule (Becker's Health IT & CIO Review, 4/10).
Medicaid eligible professionals and eligible hospitals who are attesting in 2017 for the first time would be exempt from the full calendar year reporting period, according to the proposed rule (HHS proposed rule, 4/10).
CMS will accept public feedback on the proposed rule during a 60-day comment period. A draft final rule could be issued as soon as this summer (Modern Healthcare, 4/10).