On Friday, August 29th, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) issued its final rule to change the meaningful use stage 2 and stage 3 timelines, as well as the definition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT). This new rule allows eligible providers to use the 2011 Edition CEHRT, or a combination of the 2011 and 2014 CEHRT for an EHR reporting period in 2014. It also extends Meaningful Use Stage 2 through 2016, and announced that Meaningful Use Stage 3 would begin in 2017. According to CMS, these changes were implemented to encourage more providers and hospitals to adopt certified EHR technology and participate in the meaningful use incentive program.
NACCHO submitted a public comment to CMS in support of this rule. Many eligible providers and hospitals either do not possess, or are unable to adopt 2014 certified EHR technology due to product and service availability issues. Granting eligible providers and hospitals more time to implement 2014 technology will help support the foundational work needed to develop public health data partnerships. NACCHO believes that this final rule creates the flexibility critical to support eligible providers, hospitals, and public health agencies in strengthening data sharing partnerships, as providers and hospitals will not be penalized for product and service shortages. The rule’s timeline now allows these providers and hospitals to adopt the latest certified EHR technologies. This rule will positively impact public health, and further encourage the adoption of health information technology.
Numerous resources have been made to help public health agencies understand the changes brought about by the new rule:
- Updated EHR Incentive Program Quick Guide: http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/Downloads/CEHRT2014_FinalRule_QuickGuide.pdf
- ONC Fact Sheet: 2014 Edition Standards & Certification Criteria Final Rule: http://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/ONC_FS_EHR_Stage_2_Final_082312.pdf
The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on September 4th, 2014. To view the final rule:
- Pre-published release: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2014-21021.pdf
- Once published, the fine rule will be made available on the Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/09/04/2014-21021/modifications-to-the-medicare-and-medicaid-electronic-health-record-ehr-incentive-program-for-2014