New Federal Rules Proposed for Electronic Heath Record “Stage 2 Meaningful Use”

March 9, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule that provides financial incentives, and a means for avoiding reimbursement cuts in 2015, for adopting Stage 2 “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs). CMS representatives discussed some of the proposals in advance of their public release during the 2012 annual conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The proposed Stage 2 criteria for meaningful use are based on a series of specific objectives, each of which is tied to a proposed measure that all eligible providers and hospitals must meet in order to demonstrate that they are meaningful users of certified EHRs. The proposed rule maintains the same quality measures and core menu structure as Stage 1. It extends Stage 1 for one year, delaying the onset of Stage 2 until 2014, thus providing more time for early adopters who earned bonuses in 2011 and 2012 to adapt to the new requirements. Some optional functionality objectives of Stage 1 will be mandatory in Stage 2, thus the delay provides time for vendors to develop and test required functionalities. To ease reporting of clinical quality measures for hospitals, Stage 2 quality measures align with the hospital inpatient quality reporting and Joint Commission hospital quality measures, requiring reporting of least 24 measures. For physicians, quality measures align with CMS’s Shared Savings Program and require reporting of at least 12 measures.

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