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CMS Releases Final Rule on EHR Incentive Programs

Posted in Practice Management Solutions | Nov 2015 | Comments (0)

Tags: Editor's Choiceelectronic medical recordsmedicaidhealthcare in americaCMSaaos

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has announced the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs final rule, indicating requirements to qualify for the program in 2015 through 2017 (Modified Stage 2), and Stage 3 in 2018.

New provisions change the program’s reporting period in 2015 to a 90-day period aligned with the calendar year, seek to streamline the program by removing redundant measures, attempt to modify patient action measures related to patient engagement and establishes requirements for Stage 3 of the program (optional in 2017, but required as of 2018).

Further, changes from the proposed rule now require providers to adhere to one set of objectives and measures, rather than the previous core and menu objectives.

Eligible providers will now have ten objectives to adhere to (including one consolidated public health reporting objective with three measure options). Eligible hospitals and CAHs will now have nine objectives (including one consolidated public health reporting objective with four measure options).

The final rule also includes a 60-day comment period on the Stage 3 provisions.

Prior to the announcement of the final rule for Stage 3 of meaningful use (MU), stakeholders like the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and members of Congress urged CMS to pause Stage 3 (as less than 20 percent of physicians have completed MU Stage 2), stating that “the current health information technology infrastructure does not provide for efficient electronic exchange of patient information and the MU program’s ambitious and prescriptive timetables hinder – instead of help – physicians’ abilities to provide quality care to their patients.”

“Rather than push forward with the next stage of meaningful use, CMS should first focus their attention on ensuring that providers can easily and efficiently share health information to support care delivery and new models of care,” said Thomas C. Barber, MD, Chair of the AAOS Council on Advocacy. “We will continue to advocate for meaningful use requirements that better align with upcoming programs, increase specialty specific quality measures, encourage interoperability and expand hardship exemptions.”

CMS released a webinar, titled “EHR Incentive Programs Final Rule Overview and What You Need to Know for 2015,” to focus on the changes and goals of the rules, pinpointing what’s important for the remainder of 2015.

How have Meaningful Use requirements disrupted your practice? Tell us about your experience and thoughts on the final rule in the comment box below or send us an This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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