Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Releases Final Rules for the EHR Incentive Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released their final rules for the electronic health records (EHRs) incentive programs on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. They are scheduled for publication in the Federal Register next week on Oct. 16, 2015. The final rule’s provisions encompass 2015 through 2017, with a modified Stage 2 as well as Stage 3 starting as an option in 2017 and required to start in 2018.

The EHR incentive program was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to promote the adoption and meaningful use of interoperable health information technology and qualified EHRs. The program’s requirements include some changes intended to simplify reporting by providers.

Among the changes are a 90-day reporting period (rather than a 12-month reporting period) that providers may choose for 2015; only one view, download or transmission of a patient’s health information to a third party as opposed to 5 percent of a provider’s patients doing so; and providers being required only to have the capability for patients to send and receive a secure electronic message rather than requiring 5 percent of a provider’s patients using secure electronic messaging.

Stage 3 requirements are optional in 2017, when providers who choose to start will have a 90-day reporting period.

Starting in 2018, all providers must adhere to Stage 3 requirements using a certified EHR system.

This article was originally published by Vision Monday.