Meaningful Use

Meaningful Use Update

In 2015 CMS released the Final Rule that outlines the requirements eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) must fulfill in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, also known as Meaningful Use. The Final Rule addresses participation in 2015 through 2017 with changes to Stage 2, as well as establishing Stage 3 in 2018 and beyond.

Stages for Meaningful Use and Objectives

Stage 1 – 2011 to 2013 – Data capture and sharing

Stage 2 – 2014 to 2017 – Advanced clinical processes

Stage 3 – 2018 to TBD – Improved outcomes

The CMS Rule allows providers to start Stage 3 of Meaningful Use in 2018, with 2017 as an optional year for Stage 3 participation.

Reporting Periods to Qualify for MU

The reporting periods for EPs and EHs are aligned beginning in 2017 to run on the calendar year. In terms of objectives, the Rule set out eight (8) objectives that providers are required to meet, while establishing a single set of objectives and measures, tailored to EPs, EHs, or critical access hospitals (CAHs), to meet for the definition of Meaningful Use.

In 2016 (Stage 2) – First-time participants may use their EHR to report through any continuous 90-day period between January 1 and December 31, 2016.

All returning participants must use their EHR to report the full calendar year (January 1-December 31, 2016).

In 2017 (Stage 2 or Stage 3) – First-time participants may use their EHR to report through any continuous 90-day period. Providers attesting to Stage 3 may also use a 90-day reporting period. All returning participants must use their EHR to report the full calendar year (January 1-December 31, 2017).

In 2018 (Stage 3) – First-time Medicaid participants may use their EHR to report through any continuous 90-day period. All other providers must use a reporting period of the full calendar year (January 1-December 31, 2018).

For more information, visit the CMS EHR Incentive Program, https://www.cms.gov/regulations-and-guidance/legislation/ehrincentiveprograms/.

2015 Edition and MU Stage 3 Final Rules Published

This week ONC published the Final Rule defining the 2015 Edition of EHR certification requirements. In addition, CMS released the Final Rule for Meaningful Use Stage 3.

2015 Edition: https://www.healthit.gov/policy-researchers-implementers/2015-edition-final-rule

Stage 3: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-25595.pdf

What this means for EHR developers:

The 2015 Edition certification criteria are the next set of criteria used to certify EHRs. Vendors will need to use these criteria when developing their products to be used for Meaningful Use. Testing to the 2015 Edition is expected to start in early 2016.

What this means for providers/hospitals:

According to the rule from CMS, Stage 3 will start in 2018 with an optional year starting in 2017. This gives providers and hospitals 2 years (2016-2017) to select and install an EHR certified to the 2015 Edition certification criteria.

More information on the ONC Health IT Certification Program can be found at: https://www.healthit.gov/policy-researchers-implementers/onc-health-it-certification-program

More information on Meaningful Use can be found on the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website at: http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/index.html.

See also the press release by HHS: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2015pres/10/20151006a.html