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Proposed Stage 3 Meaningful Use Rules announced by HHS

Interoperability of EHRs is a major focus of Stage 3 meaningful use and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria.  “The flow of information is fundamental to achieving a health system that delivers better care, smarter spending, and healthier people,” according to HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

Will this combination of Stage 3 Meaningful Use and 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria finally achieve CMS™ goal of nationwide and industry wide EHR interoperability?

Stage 3 Meaningful Use proposed rule

The proposed Stage 3 Meaningful Use rule specifies new criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet to qualify for Medicaid incentive programs.  In addition, the rule proposes criteria providers must meet to avoid Medicare payment adjustment based on program performance beginning payment year 2018.

According to CMS, these proposed rules will give providers additional flexibility, make the program simpler, and drive interoperability among electronic health records, and increase the focus on patient outcomes to improve care. The proposed rule would:

  • continue to encourage electronic submission of clinical quality measure (CQM) data for all providers where feasible in 2017,
  • require the electronic submission of CQMs where feasible in 2018,
  • establish requirements to transition the program to a single stage for meaningful use, and,
  • change the EHR reporting period so that all providers would report under a full calendar year timeline.

Our initial review of the Stage 3 proposed rule revealed that Stage 3 will require more stringent requirements for protecting patient health information; require better health information exchange; require increased focus on computerized provider order entry (CPOE); and will require increased  e-prescribing thresholds. We are hopeful Stage 3 Meaningful Use in combination with the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria will allow flexibility and simplify requirements for providers while achieving nationwide and industry wide EHR interoperability; time will tell.

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