New EHR Ruling Provides More Flexibility to Meet MU Requirement

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TL;DR
The CMS and ONC have recently altered the ruling on how practices and healthcare organizations are able to use certified EHR’s to meet meaningful use requirements.

Meaningful Use Requirements

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) have recently proposed a new rule that will change the meaningful use timeline, and alter the requirements for certified EHR technology and reporting quality measures for 2014. The newly proposed rule will allow for eligible hospitals, professionals, and critical access hospitals to have more flexibility in how they’re able to use certified EHRs to meet meaningful use requirements.

Under the new rule, providers can use the 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for the EHR reporting period in 2014. This will provide some much needed relief for providers and vendors alike, who have expressed concerns regarding the complexity of Stage 2. Both CMS and ONC have acknowledged that the time between the final Stage 2 rule and the certification deadline is too short.

In a joint statement, they wrote that, “We understand, based on information gained from EHR technology developers and ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies on timing, backlogs, and the certification case load, many EHR products were certified later than anticipated, which has impacted the corresponding time available to providers – especially hospitals – to effectively deploy 2014 Edition CEHRT and to make the necessary patient safety, staff training, and workflow investments in order to demonstrate meaningful use in 2014.”

Hopefully the new rule will relieve some of the pressure that eligible professionals and hospitals are experiencing and help them continue toward meaningful use of EHRs and healthcare transformation. The government needs to quickly finalize the rule in order for providers to effectively use new technology and ensure the success of their programs. The proposed changes will not be permanent. According to CMS, beginning in 2015, eligible hospitals and professionals must report using a 2014-certified EHR.

Author: Lauren Daniels

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