OMB Reviewing Proposed Rule for Stage 3 of Meaningful Use

January 6, 2015 in News

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget received the proposed rule for Stage 3 of the meaningful use program, Politico‘s “Morning eHealth” reports.

In addition, OMB received a proposed rule from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT that would adjust the EHR certification program to “make it more broadly applicable to other types of health IT health care settings” (Gold, “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 1/5).

OMB review is one of the last steps before rules are published in the Federal Register (iHealthBeat, 9/16/13).

Background

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

In March 2014, the Health IT Policy Committee voted to approve recommendations from its meaningful use workgroup for new objectives for Stage 3 of the meaningful use program (iHealthBeat, 3/11/14). The Policy Committee in its recommendations aimed to tighten the focus of Stage 3, which begins in 2017, and relieve some of the burden on stakeholders (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 1/6).

The approved recommendations were sent to CMS to develop a proposed rule (iHealthBeat, 3/11/14).

Stage 3 Proposed Rule Details

In the submission to OMB, HHS states that the proposed rule for Stage 3 focuses on improving health outcomes and furthering interoperability. The proposed rule also explains the criteria eligible professionals and eligible hospitals must meet to demonstrate meaningful use under the program.

In addition, HHS said that Stage 3 proposed rule includes changes to the meaningful use program’s:

  • Reporting period;
  • Structure; and
  • Timelines.

For example, it would provide a single definition of meaningful use.

HHS said it will work with CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to “ensure that the Stage 3 meaningful use definition coordinates with the standards and certification requirements being proposed and that there is sufficient time to upgrade and implement these changes.”

Next Steps

Both proposed rules will be posted in the Federal Register upon completion of OMB’s review (Health Data Management, 1/6). ONC expects the proposals to be approved by OMB sometime this winter (“Morning eHealth,” Politico, 1/5).

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