CMS to Delay Meaningful Use Implementation
from American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons December 17, 2013
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it will extend the federal programs to encourage physicians and hospitals to adopt electronic health records (EHR), giving providers another year to meet the Stage 2 criteria in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Stage 2 will now be extended through 2016 and Stage 3 will begin in 2017 for providers that have completed two or more years at Stage 2 of the program. The delay does not affect the beginning of Stage 2 in 2014 for physicians and other eligible professionals.
“The goal of this change is two-fold: first, to allow CMS and ONC to focus efforts on the successful implementation of the enhanced patient engagement, interoperability and health information exchange requirements in Stage 2; and second, to utilize data from Stage 2 participation to inform policy decisions for Stage 3,” stated Robert Tagalicod, director of the CMS Office of E-Health Standards and Services, and Jacob Reider, acting national coordinator for Health Information Technology.
The program was created under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and allows health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems to qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments. CMS noted that between 2009 and 2012, EHR adoption nearly doubled among physicians and more than tripled among hospitals. “As of October 2013, 85 percent of eligible hospitals and more than six in 10 eligible professionals had received a Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive payment,” stated Tagalicod and Reider.
According to CMS, the proposed rulemaking for Stage 3 is expected in the fall of 2014 and the final rule, with requirements for Stage 3, would follow in the first half of 2015. All stakeholder comments “will be reviewed and carefully considered before the release of the final rules.”
CMS offers resources on Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs on its website, including the Stage 1 and Stage 2 Beginner’s Guides. Information on certification criteria and additional resources on successful implementation of health information technology can be found on healthit.gov.
For more information visit the EHR Incentive Programs website.