HHS Releases Proposed Rules for Stage 3 Meaningful Use

March 20, 2015 in News

On Friday, HHS released proposed rules for Stage 3 of the meaningful use program that aim to offer eligible professionals and eligible hospitals more flexibility, Health Data Management, reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 3/20).  Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

CMS released a notice of proposed rulemaking for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs.

Meanwhile, the Office of the National Coordinator released the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria proposed rule.

Stage 3 Proposed Rule Details

According to an HHS release, CMS’ proposed rule outlines new criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must meet to qualify for Medicaid EHR incentive payments and avoid Medicare payment adjustments based on program performance beginning in 2018 (HHS release, 3/20).

Under the proposed rule, all eligible professionals beginning in 2018 would report on Stage 3 of the meaningful use program regardless of their previous participation. Providers would have the option to move to Stage 3 starting in 2017 (HHS proposed rule, 3/20).

The 301- page proposed rule would encourage all providers to submit clinical quality measure data electronically when feasible in 2017 and mandate the electronic submission of such data in 2018.

In addition, the Stage 3 proposed rule would “change the EHR reporting period so that all providers would report under a full calendar year timeline,” expect for those attesting to the Medicaid meaningful use program for the first time (Health Data Management, 3/20).

Specifically, the proposed rule would eliminate the current 90-day reporting period for eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals attesting to meaningful use for the first time.

The proposed rule also would support efforts to align the meaningful use program with other CMS quality reporting programs that use EHR technology, such as the hospital inpatient quality reporting program and the physician quality reporting system (HHS proposed rule, 3/20).

In the release, Patrick Conway, CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer, said, “This Stage 3 proposed rule does three things: it helps simplify the meaningful use program, advances the use of health IT toward our vision for improving health delivery and further aligns the program with other quality and value programs.” Patrick also said that CMS soon will propose a new meaningful use reporting deadline (HHS release, 3/20).

Health IT Certification Proposed rule

Meanwhile, ONC’s proposed certification rule aims to better align with the strategy outlined in ONC’s draft Interoperability Roadmap.

According to the release, “the proposed rule builds on past editions of adopted health IT certification criteria, and includes new and updated IT functionality and provisions that support the EHR Incentive Programs care improvement, cost reduction, and patient safety across the health system.”

CMS and ONC will accept comments on the proposed rules until May 29 (HHS release, 3/20).

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