Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Finalizes EHR Meaningful-Use Rule
The CMS on 8/29 finalized a rule allowing hospitals and eligible professionals more flexibility in how they meet meaningful-use requirements for the electronic health-record incentive program.
The CMS on 8/29 finalized a rule allowing hospitals and eligible professionals more flexibility in how they meet meaningful-use requirements for the electronic health-record incentive program. The agency had originally proposed the idea in a May draft rule. The final rule left the May proposal unchanged. The rule would give providers a longer timeline and more flexibility in meeting the incentive goals created by the stimulus program first created in the 2009 HITECH Act. The incentive program provides doctors and hospitals stimulus funding to implement electronic health records. The rule pushes back the beginning of the third stage of meaningful use for the first group of adopters until Jan. 1, 2017, as opposed to the old standard of Jan. 1, 2016. Marilyn Tavenner, CMS administrator, said in a release: “We listened to stakeholder feedback and provided CEHRT flexibility for 2014 to help ensure providers can continue to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs forward.” In the final rule, providers unable to adopt 2014 technology because of availability of certi-fied technology have three options. For providers intending to demonstrate Stage 1 meaningful use in 2014, they can use 2011 technology to show they met 2013 first-stage standards; or can use a combination of 2011 and 2014 technology to meet 2013-14 first-stage standards; or could use 2014 technology to fulfill 2014 first-stage standards.