At a glance: Stage 2 final rule
The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) announced Thursday the final rule for Stage 2 meaningful use, with several adjustments being made to the initial proposals.
Below is a fact sheet from CMS detailing Stage 2 final rule:
Through the Stage 2 requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, CMS seeks to expand the meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Certified EHR technology used in a meaningful way is one piece of a broader health information technology infrastructure needed to reform the health care system and improve health care quality, efficiency, and patient safety. Highlights of the rule’s provisions follow.
Stage 2 Timing
In the Stage 1 meaningful use regulations, CMS established an original timeline that would have required Medicare providers who first demonstrated meaningful use in 2011 to meet the Stage 2 criteria in 2013. The Stage 2 rule gives providers more time to meet Stage 2 criteria. A provider that attested to Stage 1 of meaningful use in 2011 would attest to Stage 2 in 2014, instead of in 2013. Therefore, providers are not required to meet Stage 2 meaningful use before 2014. The table below illustrates the progression of meaningful use stages from the first year a Medicare provider begins participation in the program.
For 2014 only, providers that are beyond the first year of demonstrating meaningful use will have a 3-month quarter reporting period to allow an additional up to 9 months to upgrade certified EHR technology to the 2014 edition.
Meaningful Use (MU) Objectives
Nearly all of the Stage 1 core and menu objectives that were proposed are being finalized for Stage 2. The test of “exchange of key clinical information” core objective from Stage 1 is eliminated in favor of a more robust “transitions of care” core objective in Stage 2; and the “Provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information” objective is also eliminated because it was replaced by the “electronic/online access” core objective.
The final rule adds “outpatient lab reporting” to the menu for hospitals and “recording clinical notes” as a menu objective for both EPs and hospitals. There will be 20 measures for EPs (17 core and 3 of 6 menu) and 19 measures for eligible hospitals and CAHs (16 core and 3 of 6 menu).
The final rule reduces some thresholds for achieving certain measures and modifies criteria for exclusions to respond to difficulties commenters identified in implementing certain objectives in certain situations. For example, for some objectives CMS has added exclusions based on broadband availability that allow providers in rural or underserved areas to achieve meaningful use with fewer hurdles.
New Core Objectives. CMS finalized two new objectives in the core: