CMS Announces Overhauls to Meaningful Use in Proposed Rule

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is renaming and overhauling the “meaningful use” electronic health record (EHR) Incentive Program as well as the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in a new proposed rule.

The changes to MIPS and meaningful use were introduced as part of the FY 2019 Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule, which was published in the Federal Register on April 24. The proposed policies are intended to mark progress in implementing the aims of the MyHealthEData initiative, which was announced earlier this month by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

Under the rule, which also requires price transparency initiatives, “meaningful use” would now be called “Promoting Interoperability” and the MIPS category currently named “Advancing Care Information” would be called “Promoting Interoperability.”

 

According to a CMS fact sheet, the meaningful use overhaul will focus on three aspects:

  1. Making the program more flexible and less burdensome
  2. Emphasizing measures that require the exchange of health information between providers and patients
  3. Incentivizing providers to make it easier for patients to obtain their medical records electronically

To achieve this, the reporting period for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals that report clinical quality measures (CQMs) electronically for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs would be one self‑selected calendar quarter of CY 2019 data, reporting on at least four self-selected CQMs from the set of 16. CMS proposes the submission period for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program would be the two months following the close of the calendar year, ending February 29, 2020.

In addition, beginning with the 2020 reporting period, CMS proposes removing eight of the 16 CQMs—consistent with CMS’ commitment to producing a smaller set of more meaningful measures and in alignment with the Hospital IQR Program, according to another CMS fact sheet on the changes. The rule requires that providers use 2015 edition certified EHR technology (CEHRT) in 2019 to demonstrate meaningful use and qualify for federal incentive payments.

“This updated technology includes the use of application programming interfaces (APIs), which have the potential to improve the flow of information between providers and patients,” states a CMS press release. “Patients could collect their health information from multiple providers and potentially incorporate all of their health information into a single portal, application, program, or other software.”

Additionally, CMS is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) from stakeholders about how to revise Conditions of Participation to promote interoperability and increase health data exchange between hospitals.

Click here to read the proposed rule. Comments on the proposed rule must be received by 5:00 p.m. on June 25, 2018.

Mary Butler is the associate editor at Journal of AHIMA.

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