Responding to input from health care providers and other stakeholders, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last week that it intends to engage in rulemaking to update the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs beginning in 2015. These intended changes would help to reduce the reporting burden on providers, while supporting the long term goals of the program.
The new rule, expected this spring, would address concerns about software implementation, information exchange readiness, and reflect developments in the industry and progress toward program goals achieved since the program began in 2011.
CMS is considering the following changes:
- Shortening the 2015 reporting period to 90 days to address provider concerns about their ability to fully deploy 2014 Edition software
- Realigning hospital 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 quality programs
- Modifying other aspects of the programs to match long-term goals, reduce complexity and lessen providers’ reporting burden
These proposed changes reflect the Department of Health and Human Services’ commitment to creating a health information technology infrastructure that:
- Elevates patient-centered care
- Improves health outcomes
- Supports the providers who care for patients
This rulemaking is separate from the forthcoming Stage 3 proposed rule expected in early March. CMS intends to limit the scope of the Stage 3 proposed rule to the requirements and criteria for meaningful use in 2017 and subsequent years.
For help with EHR and meaningful use, contact the North Carolina Medical Society’s Director of Practice Improvement Terri Gonzalez or at 919-833-3836 x123. For more information about the EHR Incentive Programs, please visit http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms.