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CMS Further Clarifies Meaningful Use Public Health Exclusions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document confirming that the agency does not intend to inadvertently penalize providers with provisions in the 2015 Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs final rule.

In the document, CMS clarifies information on alternate exclusions available for the public health reporting objective required to show meaningful use of EHR technology. According to the document, if hospitals and providers intended to report to a registry in 2015 that was not ready to accept registrations within the first 60 days of the reporting period, they can claim an alternate exclusion to reporting to a public health registry. Additionally, hospitals and providers in Stage 2 of meaningful use in 2016 can claim an alternate exclusion from certain public health reporting measures if they did not previously intend to report on these measures in 2016.

In an earlier FAQ document, CMS clarified that eligible hospitals can claim alternate exclusions for the public health objective in the following ways:

  • Hospitals scheduled to be in Stage 1 must attest to at least two measures and can use an exclusion on any of the four applicable measures.
  • Hospitals scheduled to be in Stage 2 must attest to at least three measures and can use an exclusion only on the specialized registry reporting measure.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Matt Buechner is the policy and advocacy associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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