CMS Shortens 2015 EHR Incentive Program Reporting Period

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on April 10 released its proposed rule to modify Stage 2 of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. Feedback from health care organizations and stakeholders, including the ACC, was instrumental in CMS' decision to shorten the 2015 reporting period from a full year to 90 days. In addition to the reporting period change, key components of the bill appear to be similar in nature to the Stage 3 proposed rule.

According to CMS, “the proposed rules align and merge the ‘stages’ of meaningful use requirements by streamlining reporting by removing redundant, duplicative, and topped-out measures; modifying patient action measures in Stage 2 objectives related to patient engagement; and aligning the EHR reporting period for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals with the full calendar year.”

While the ACC is onboard with CMS shortening the reporting period, the College is troubled by how long it took the Agency to accept the realities of the situation. Additionally, the ACC has some concerns with CMS coming to the same erroneous conclusions they drew when putting together the proposed Stage 3 rule regarding the nature of the program's complexities and burdens and applied them here.

“We understand some of the intricacies that led to a long period of deliberation on this matter,” said ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC, in response to the announcement. “We hope to continue to work with CMS on the final elements of the proposed Stage 2 rule and its impact on our members and patients in terms of quality, costs and access to care. Electronic health records will continue to grow as an important tool for physicians. We agree that the proper implementation of meaningful use requirements is critical for optimal patient care. We appreciate the corrective actions released by CMS.”

The ACC is currently reviewing this proposed rule along with the Stage 3 proposed rule and will submit comments by their respective deadlines.

Keywords: Medicare, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S., Medicaid

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