CMS and ONC Release Final Rules Aligning Three Stages of Meaningful Use

Heart of Health Policy | In October, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology released two final rules that align all three stages of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program (also known as "Meaningful Use"). In addition to finalizing program requirements for the 2015-2017 reporting periods, the rules combine Meaningful Use into one single stage. According to the agencies, the alignment aims "to advance electronic health records with added simplicity and flexibility."

While the ACC is a longtime advocate of EHRs as a way to improve the quality of patient care, the College has voiced its concerns with moving too quickly with Meaningful Use implementation. "Many of the requirements for Stage 2 proved unattainable," said ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, in response to the rules. "Large numbers of providers either haven't met them or, after trying and failing, have given up. That is why it is vital that CMS consider participation data from the current stage to see what is working and what isn't before outlining an upcoming stage. We cannot establish a long-term health care program that does not take into account what we can feasibly attain in the short-term, transitional period."

The ACC will continue to work with CMS to determine how Meaningful Use will align with the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System which will go into effect in 2017. The ACC is currently reviewing the rules and will formally weigh in during the 60-day comment period.

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine

< Back to Listings