Regulatory Update: CMS Proposed Changes to Meaningful Use

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is full of surprises.   Months after promising to modify the Meaningful Use program for the current year, 2015, they released a proposed rule that, if finalized, would implement the changes they hinted at, and much more.

The proposed rule released April 10, 2015 provides significant relief for hospitals and eligible providers for 2015 and redefines the measures and success criteria for 2015-2017. The proposed rule includes the following impactful changes:

  • Eligible hospitals (EHs) and critical access hospitals (CAHs) would be moved to the calendar year for reporting. The 2015 reporting period would end as late as December 31, 2015, giving hospitals an additional three months to meet Meaningful Use in 2015.
  • Eligible providers, EHs and CAHs in their second or subsequent years of Meaningful Use would only be required to report for any 90 day period in 2015. For hospitals, this would mean any 90 consecutive days between October 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015.  Hospitals would be required to submit their attestation between January 1, 2016 and February 29, 2016.
  • View a summary of the measures and requirements by year and stage for hospitals and eligible providers.
  • EHs and CAHs scheduled to report on Stage 1 (any year) in 2015 would have the ability to exclude as many as five whole measures and part of the CPOE requirements.
  • Beginning in 2016, all EHs and CAHs, regardless of Stage, would have to meet identical measures and thresholds.

The proposed changes align the program with the proposed Stage 3 program, simplifying the measures and standardizing the requirements independent of Stage.  T-System believes the changes will largely benefit hospitals, although some may experience a slight delay in incentives (AHs) and reimbursement (CAHs) in 2015 given the extension of the reporting period by three months.

CMS has asked for comments on the proposals. If you would like to provide comments, the public comment period will be open until June 14, 2015.  Comments can be submitted via mail to the address below, or electronically.  A pdf copy of the proposed rule is also available.

Andrew Slavitt, Acting Administrator
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,
Department of Health and Human Services,
Attention: CMS-3311-P
P.O. Box 8013, Baltimore, MD 21244-8013

As part of our ongoing Meaningful Use educational series, we will be offering a webinar to cover these proposed changes in more detail on Tuesday, May 5 at 3 p.m. CT. Click here to register >>

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About the Author

Dr. Robert Hitchcock

Robert Hitchcock, M.D., FACEP, is T-System’s VP and CMIO, leading the company efforts for solving regulatory issues and identifying trends. He is a nationally recognized Meaningful Use expert and active member of the HIMSS Physician Committee and other HIMSS subcommittees advocating usability and responding to regulatory issues. Dr. Hitchcock is a practicing ED physician and an Emergency Department Practice Management Association (EDPMA) board member. In 2001, he earned recognition for excellence in teaching from internal medicine residents, and in the early 2000s, he trained basic and advanced life-support EMS providers. His goal is to advance system adoption and usability to improve the quality and efficiency of ED delivery.

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