Washington Update

CMS Seeks Comment on Proposed “Meaningful Use” Rules

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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.

The American 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.

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