In May, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released a proposed
rule that would give health care providers additional time to
comply with guidelines for demonstrating their meaningful use of electronic
health records (EHRs). CMS will accept
comments on the proposed rule through July 21, 2014.
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created incentive payments to
encourage health care entities to adopt the use of EHRs and use them in ways
that would improve the quality, safety and efficiency of care delivery,
including the provision of oral care, while ensuring the privacy and security
of patient health information. In response to reports that software vendors are
having difficulty upgrading and certifying their EHR products in time for
providers to qualify for incentive payments in 2014, CMS has proposed new rules
that temporarily extend the timeline and relax certification requirements.
The proposed rule would modify the existing rule in three
ways. It would alter the timeline for demonstrating meaningful use, which
occurs in three stages; make allowances for providers with previously certified
EHRs who are encountering implementation trouble with the 2014 edition of the
software due to vendor backlogs and related issues; and change reporting
requirements for clinical quality measures.