CMS Releases Final Rule for Stage 3 Meaningful Use

October 9, 2015
Policy Snapshot

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released final rules that simplify requirements and add new flexibilities for providers to make electronic health information available when and where it matters most and for health care providers and consumers to be able to readily, safely, and securely exchange that information. The final rule for 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria (2015 Edition) and final rule with comment period for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Incentive Programs will continue to move the health care industry away from a paper-based system.

Upon a brief overview of the rule, key provisions include:

  • A 90-day EHR reporting period in 2015, as well as for new participants in 2016 and 2017;
  • Stage 3 requirements are optional in 2017, but providers who choose to begin Stage 3 in 2017 will have a 90-day reporting period;
  • Stage 3 will be required for all providers beginning in 2018, using EHR technology certified to the 2015 Edition; and,
  • Moving the reporting period from fiscal year to calendar year reporting for all providers beginning in 2015.

The rule also accommodates concerns about the Stage 2 requirement that hospitals implement electronic prescribing for hospital discharges, and the requirement would effectively apply in 2017, instead of 2016, as proposed. CMS also has announced a 60-day public comment period to facilitate additional feedback about Stage 3 going forward, and CMS will use this feedback to inform future policy developments related to EHRs.

AMDA previously submitted comments on the proposed regulations expressing concern about the continued implementation of Meaningful Use. AMDA has sought exemptions from Meaningful Use penalties for physician patient encounters in the nursing homes given that current state of health information technology does not allow for physicians who see nursing home patients to successfully participate in the program.

For more information on the CMS final rule with comment period, click here.

For more information on ONC’s editions of certification criteria, click here