CMS to Address Meaningful Use Worries Through Rulemaking

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that in response to stakeholder concerns about its electronic health record (EHR) incentive program, they are considering proposals to ease provider burdens.

In a blog post, CMS said the changes it’s considering making to the “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program “would be intended to be responsive to provider concerns about software implementation, information exchange readiness, and other related concerns in 2015. It would also be intended to propose changes reflective of developments in the industry and progress toward program goals achieved since the program began in 2011.”

CMS also clarified that any changes under discussion, which will be made through a rulemaking process, are separate from the stage 3 proposed rule which is expected to be released in March.

The proposals CMS is considering include:

  • Realign hospital EHR reporting periods to the calendar year to allow eligible hospitals more time to incorporate 2014 edition software into their workflows and to better align with other CMS quality programs.
  • Modify other aspects of the program to match long-term goals, reduce complexity, and lessen providers’ reporting burdens.
  • Shorten the EHR reporting period in 2015 to 90 days to accommodate these changes.


The proposal to change the length of provider reporting periods has been a popular suggestion from trade groups and legislators in recent months. A bill with bipartisan support, introduced by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC 2nd) earlier this month, called the Flex-IT Act, proposed shortening the year-long reporting period to three months.

“To clarify, we are working on multiple tracks right now to realign the program to reflect the progress toward program goals and be responsive to stakeholder input,” CMS noted.

Click here for more on meaningful use and here to read the announcement.

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