Meaningful use rules in OMB for review

By Mike Miliard
12:52 PM
A 90-day 2015 reporting period confirmed
Passing the baton

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has handed the baton to the Office of Management and Budget, as the rules for Stage 3 meaningful use and the modifications to Stage 2 inch closer to finalization.

The combined rules were delivered to OMB on September 3, the final step before publication.

The much-requested 90-day 2015 reporting period is included in the Stage 2 modifications. That will have the biggest and most immediate impact for most health organizations. But so would a drastically reduced patient enagagement requirement, and an alignment of hospital reporting to the calendar year.

The move toward finalization is not a moment too soon.

For months, healthcare providers and EHR vendors have been clamoring – "urging and pleading" – for some clarity about what to expect next from the EHR Incentive Program.

Just this week, the Medical Group Management Association put out a press release asking, "Where is the final rule?"

Beyond leading to industry confusion, MGMA said the lateness meant its medical group members won't have enough to time to get their houses in order once the final rules do (finally) appear. In their absence, the association called on CMS to extend the 2015 reporting period, calling it "absolutely vital to continued program success."

Beyond the Stage 2 modifications, of course, the industry is also curious to see just how much of the Stage 3 proposed rule ends up in the finalized framework currently being mulled by OMB.

CMS officials say the rule aims at eight "objectives of advanced use": data security, e-prescribing, clinical decision support, CPOE, patient access, care coordination, HIE and public health reporting.

"The goal was to become simpler; to get to something that was sustainable for future achievement," said Robert Anthony, deputy director of CMS' quality measurement and health assessment group, speaking at HIMSS15 this spring. "To focus in areas that were priorities for us as an agency, but also for us as healthcare providers and consumers: promoting health information exchange and focusing on improved outcomes."

See also:

Stage 3 meaningful use: What's next?

Senate suggests Stage 3 MU delay

The good, the bad and the ugly of Stage 3 MU