Stage 3 meaningful use proposed rule and certification criteria released

Aim to 'support the path to nationwide interoperability'
By Mike Miliard
03:38 PM
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The new Stage 3 meaningful use rules proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seek to give providers more flexibility, simplify the program, drive interoperability among electronic health records and put the focus on improved patient outcomes.

  • The Stage 3 proposed rule can be read here.
  • New 2015 Edition IT certification criteria can be seen here.

CMS says the Stage 3 rules are meant to drive better-quality, more cost-effective and coordinated care by improving the way providers are paid and – crucially – bolstering better information sharing.

"The flow of information is fundamental to achieving a health system that delivers better care, smarter spending  and healthier people," said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell in a press statement. "The steps we are taking today will help to create more transparency on cost and quality information, bring electronic health information to inform care and decision making, and support population health."

CMS touts the proposed rule's "flexibility," pointing to simplified requirements for providers that keep a focus on advanced use of EHRs and, it says, scrap box-checking requirements that "are no longer relevant."

Stage 3 "does three things: It helps simplify the meaningful use program, advances the use of health IT toward our vision for improving health delivery, and further aligns the program with other quality and value programs,” said Patrick Conway, MD, acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer at CMS, in a statement.

He added that, "in an effort to make reporting easier for health care providers, we will be proposing a new meaningful use reporting deadline soon."


Meanwhile, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has proposed a new 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria rule that aligns with the data exchange goals put forth in its Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap. The proposed rule includes new and updated IT functionality and provisions that support care improvement, cost reduction, and patient safety across the health system.

"The certification criteria we have proposed in the 2015 Edition will help achieve that vision through provisions that consider the range of health IT users and uses across the care continuum, including those focused on interoperable standards, data portability, improved transparency, privacy and security capabilities, and increased oversight," said National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, in a statement.

Officials say Stage 3's scope is limited to 2017 and beyond. Meanwhile, CMS is eyeing additional changes to existing meaningful use rules in 2015 through a separate rulemaking -- most notably a much-requested shorter, 90-day reporting period.

The comment periods for Stage 3 and the 2015 Edition criteria end May 29, 2015.

This item will be updated.