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CMS Proposes Delay of Meaningful Use Requirements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a proposed rule May 20 changing the definition of certified electronic health records (EHRs) and formalizing a Dec. 6 announced delay of meaningful use implementation.

CMS proposes to change the definition of certified EHRs so hospitals participating in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs may use EHRs certified based on 2011 standards, 2014 standards, or a combination thereof, for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 reporting period. Previously, hospitals were required to report exclusively through EHRs certified to 2014 standards.

The EHR incentive programs provide payments to hospitals and professionals that adopt and meaningfully use EHR technology to improve quality and reduce costs. The proposed change would give hospitals one additional year to increase EHR functionality to 2014 standards, which will be required for the FY 2015 reporting period. However, the change does not apply to hospitals looking to qualify for Medicaid EHR incentive payments for the first time in FY 2014.

Additionally, the agencies propose to codify a previous announcement that gives hospitals an additional year – through FY 2016 – to meet stage 2 meaningful use requirements, with stage 3 beginning in FY 2017 for eligible hospitals.

Comments may be submitted to CMS and ONC through July 21. Please contact Xiaoyi Huang, JD, director of policy, at xhuang@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

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

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