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HHS Releases Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rules

CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONCHIT) released August 23 the final requirements that hospitals and healthcare providers must meet in order to qualify for incentives during the second stage of the meaningful use program.

The rule also includes criteria that electronic health records (EHRs) must meet to achieve certification.

According to HHS, the requirements for Stage 2 are:

* Make clear that Stage 2 of the program will begin as early as 2014. No providers will be required to follow the Stage 2 requirements outlined before 2014.

* Outline the certification criteria for the certification of EHR technology, so eligible professionals and hospitals may be assured that the systems they use will work, help them meaningfully use health information technology, and qualify for incentive payments.

* Modify the certification program to cut red tape and make the certification process more efficient.

* Allow current “2011 Edition Certified EHR Technology” to be used until 2014.

The CMS final rule also provides a flexible reporting period for 2014 to give providers sufficient time to adopt or upgrade to the latest EHR technology certified for 2014.

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