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TECHNOLOGY

CMS proposes new deadline for “meaningful use” reporting compliance

Recently, Medical Office Manager told you about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) electronic health records (EHRs) incentive programs and meaningful use requirements. Now, CMS has released a proposed rule that would alter the timeline for meaningful use reporting.

Washington, DC, health care attorney at Alston & Bird, Paula Stannard, a former Health and Human Services (HHS) deputy general counsel and acting general counsel, explains the rule would, if finalized as proposed, give eligible professionals more time to comply with Stage 2 and allow providers “to use 2011 certified EHRs, a combination of 2011 and 2014 certified EHRs, or 2014 certified EHRs to demonstrate meaningful use in 2014.” She notes that providers, including providers working on Stage 2 in 2014, would have the option of demonstrating meaningful use with Stage 1 objectives and measures, if they cannot fully implement 2014 certified EHRs because of delays in the availability of such EHRs. The rule also would extend Stage 2 through 2016. 

The flexibility to continue to use 2011 Edition Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) applies only for 2014 reporting and 2014 Edition CEHRT must be used for 2015 reporting periods. Using 2011 Edition CEHRT affects the stage of meaningful use to which a provider can attest because, as CMS explains: “For example, 2011 Edition CEHRT alone does not have the necessary functionality required to meet the Stage 2 objectives and measures.” The CEHRT edition used will also affect the clinical quality measures providers can calculate.

CMS indicates in the proposed rule that this proposed change responds to comments from industry that availability of 2014 Edition CEHRT was limited and time to implement 2014 Edition CEHRT was too short. Therefore, CMS is allowing providers affected by the limited availability of 2014 Edition CEHRT to take advantage of this flexibility. Public comments regarding the proposed rule must be submitted by July 21, 2014. You can access the proposed rule in the May 23, 2014 Federal Register.

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