CMS Eases Meaningful Use Requirements in Proposed Rule

A new proposed rule would reduce the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program reporting period for clinicians, hospitals, and critical access hospitals. The new reporting period would be a 90-day period from the previous calendar year period for returning participants. This adjustment was part of the proposed rule for the 2017 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System

This new reporting period could include any continuous 90-day period between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.

“Earlier this year, CMS conducted a review of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for clinicians as part of our implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), with the aim of reconsidering the program so we move closer to achieving the full potential health information technology offers,” CMS stated in the proposed rule. “Based on that review, CMS streamlined EHR reporting requirements under the proposed rule to implement certain provisions of MACRA to increase flexibility and support improved patient outcomes.”

The rule proposed eliminating clinical decision support and computerized provider order entry for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals attesting under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. And it would reduce the thresholds for a subset of the remaining objectives and measures in Modified Stage 2 for 2017 and Stage 3 for 2017 and 2018, Health Data Management noted.

“These proposed changes would not apply to eligible hospitals and CAHs that attest under a state’s Medicaid EHR Incentive Program,” CMS stated.

Additionally, eligible providers, hospitals and critical access hospitals that have not successfully demonstrated meaningful use in a prior year would be required to attest to Modified Stage 2 by October 1, 2017.

“Returning EPs, eligible hospitals and CAHs will report to different systems in 2017 and therefore would not be affected by this proposal,” CMS clarified.

Comments to the proposed rule will be accepted until September 6, 2016.

Click here to read the rule.

Mary Butler is the associate editor at The Journal of AHIMA.

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