CMS adds flex­i­bil­ity in EHR mean­ing­ful-use rule

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - —Dar­ius Tahir

The CMS fi­nal­ized a rule al­low­ing hos­pi­tals and el­i­gi­ble pro­fes­sion­als more flex­i­bil­ity in how they meet mean­ing­fu­luse re­quire­ments for the elec­tronic health-record in­cen­tive pro­gram.

The agency had first put forth the con­cept in a May pro­posal. Fri­day’s fi­nal rule left that pro­posal un­changed.

The rule would grant providers a longer time­line and more flex­i­bil­ity in meet­ing in­cen­tive goals laid out by the pro­gram.

The rule pushes back the be­gin­ning of the third stage of mean­ing­ful use for the first co­hort of adopters un­til Jan. 1, 2017, as op­posed to the pre­vi­ous date of Jan. 1, 2016. Also, some providers strug­gling with adop­tion of 2014 cer­ti­fied EHRs will be granted more flex­i­bil­ity. Providers es­sen­tially now have an ex­tra year to use 2011 Edi­tion soft­ware. The fi­nal rule notes that avail­abil­ity of tech­nol­ogy was con­strained be­cause of late cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and high de­mand.

The Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion’s Chan­tal Worzala, direc­tor of pol­icy, said in a state­ment: “The AHA ap­pre­ci­ates the flex­i­bil­ity of­fered by CMS to­day. Un­for­tu­nately, this rule of­fers lit­tle re­lief be­cause CMS did not grant a shorter re­port­ing pe­riod for FY 2015, which be­gins on Oct. 1.”

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