Providers Talk, CMS Listens: CMS Announces Plan to Modify Meaningful Use Requirements

On January 29, 2015, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) electronic health recordannounced its intent to make changes to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs beginning in 2015, which aim to “help to reduce the reporting burden on providers.”

Providers have expressed concerns about the EHR Incentive Programs’ requirements and their burden on providers. In response to those concerns, CMS is considering whether to:

  • Shorten the EHR reporting period in 2015 to 90 days to accommodate these changes.
  • 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.

CMS is expected to engage in rulemaking this spring to implement these changes to the EHR Incentive Programs. These changes will not be included in the proposed regulations regarding Stage 3 meaningful use requirements and criteria that CMS plans to issue by early March 2015 and which will apply in 2017 and subsequent years.


MU Deadlines for Eligible Professionals

UPDATE: 2/10/2014.  On Friday 2/7/2014, CMS announced an extension until March 31, 2014 for Eligible Professionals to submit their 2013 EHR Meaningful Use (MU) attestation.  In addition, Eligible Hospitals that had trouble submitting their 2013 MU attestation may be able to retroactively submit their MU attestation to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment but must contact CMS by March 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm to do so.  Note that only the attestation deadline is being moved and not the requirement to meet meaningful use by September 30, 2013 for Eligible Hospitals and by December 31, 2013 for Eligible Professionals in order to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment.   (We would provide you a link to the CMS announcement but it currently is not readily available on the CMS EHR Incentive Program website and, in fact, CMS has not yet updated its deadline on its home page for the Program.)

Eligible professionals, such as physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists and chiropractors, should be aware of two upcoming dates related to their participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. The reporting period ends December 31, 2013, and the deadline to attest to “meaningful use” ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on February 28, 2014. For additional information about the process of attesting to meaningful use, check out CMS’ Attestation Guide for Medicare EPs .