CMS Planning to Modify Requirements for Meaningful Use

Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the intent to update the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs beginning in 2015. These anticipated changes would reduce the reporting burden on providers, at the same time as supporting the long term goals of the program.

The United States has seen exceptional growth in the adoption of meaningful use of EHRs since the conception of the EHR Incentive Growth in 2011. Apparently, over 400,000 eligible providers have adopted using EHRs. This has resulted in millions of patients receive better coordinated care, accurate prescribing, and improved communication.

The intention of CMS with the new rule is to help the providers overcome the concerns regarding software implementation and information exchange readiness in 2015. The new rule, which is expected to come out in spring, also intends to propose changes reflective of developments in the industry and progress toward program goals achieved since the program began in 2011.

The CMS is considering proposals to:

  • Realign hospital EHR reporting periods to the calendar year to allow eligible hospitals more time to incorporate 2014 Edition software into their workflows and to better align with other CMS quality programs.
  • Modify other aspects of the program to match long-term goals, reduce complexity, and lessen providers’ reporting burdens.
  • Shorten the EHR reporting period in 2015 to 90 days to accommodate these changes.

Currently, the CMS is working on multiple tracks to realign the program to reflect the progress toward program goals and be responsive to stakeholder input. This announcement—that the CMS intend to pursue the changes to meaningful use beginning in 2015 through rulemaking— is all together separate from the approaching Stage 3 proposed rule that is expected to be released by early March.

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