CMS and ONC Issue Stage 2 Meaningful Use and Certification Standards Proposed Rules


On February 23, 2012, CMS posted a display copy of the proposed Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to qualify for incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentives Programs.  The proposed rule sets forth new functionality and clinical quality objectives eligible providers must satisfy in order to receive incentive payments under the HITECH Act.  On February 24, 2012, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released a companion proposed rule setting forth the certification standards certified EHRs must meet to enable providers to achieve Meaningful Use during Stage 2.

The Stage 2 criteria will take effect during 2014 for providers that have successfully attested to the Stage 1 criteria.  Originally, providers that successfully attested to the Stage 1 criteria would be responsible for meeting Stage 2 criteria in 2013.  CMS now proposes to extend that timeline by one year.

The proposed Stage 2 requirements include the same core-menu structure as the Stage 1 requirements:  EPs must meet or qualify for an exclusion to 17 core objectives and three of five menu objectives, while eligible hospitals and CAHs must meet or qualify for an exclusion to 16 core objectives and two of four menu objectives.   CMS notes that almost all of the Stage 1 core and menu objectives have been retained in the proposed State 2 criteria.   In the proposed rule, CMS also has proposed an electronic process by which eligible providers may submit clinical quality measures (CQMs), with EPs required to report 12 CQMs and eligible hospitals and CAHs required to report 24 CQMs.

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