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CMS Proposes Meaningful Use Extensions

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, May 21, 2014

The proposed rule would give healthcare providers more flexibility in how they use electronic health record systems to meet Meaningful Use requirements and would formally extend the timelines for Stage 2 and Stage 3.

CMS' meaningful use adoption timetable, recently bombarded by more bad news, is getting some breathing room.

On Tuesday, CMS published a proposed rule that would provide eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals more flexibility in how they use electronic health record systems to meet Meaningful Use requirements.

The proposal from CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT would let providers use 2011-certified EHRs, or a combination of 2011- and 2014-certified EHR technology, for the 2014 reporting period in Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.

Beginning in 2015, all eligible hospitals and professionals would still be required to report using 2014-certified EHR technology.

"We think this gives us the flexibility we've asked for," said Russ Branzell, CHIME president and CEO. Branzell cautioned, however, that the government must usher its proposed rule through the usual process without delay, lest providers and physicians be reliant on the outcome of their previous requests for hardship exemptions, or else face penalties for not attesting for MU stage 2 in 2014.

"From what we know of normal NPRM reporting, with 60-day comment periods and all the minimum requirements, if they push through everything, you're still talking late summer, early fall," Branzell said.

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