As proposed in May, CMS issued a final rule that extended the stage 2 meaningful-use (MU) deadline one year and gave hospitals and physicians greater latitude to meet the requirements for the federal MU program.
The delay was first proposed by CMS in May after just four hospitals had attested to stage 2 meaningful use of health IT. To meet stage 2, the rule required eligible providers to use 2014 certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT), which many vendors have had delays in achieving and implementing.
Eligible providers and professionals will now have until 2017 to meet the stage 2 requirements, and through 2014, they may use the 2011 version of CEHRT. That window, however, is poised to close at the end of 2014, after which the 2014 version must be used.
Also expiring at the end of this year is the 90-day reporting period for stage 2, after which eligible providers and professionals must attest to a full 12 months of meaningful use.
Russell Branzell, president of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, issued a statement saying that CHIME was “deeply disappointed” in the decision to require 365 days of reporting for stage 2 in 2015 rather than the 90-day period recommended by CHIME in its comments to CMS.
“Nearly every stakeholder group echoed recommendations made by CHIME to give providers the option of reporting any three-month quarter EHR reporting period in 2015,” Branzell wrote. “This sensible recommendation, if taken, would have assuaged industry concerns over the pace and trajectory of rulemaking; it would have pushed providers to meet a higher bar, without pushing them off the cliff; and it would have ensured the long-term vitality of the program itself. Now, the very future of Meaningful Use is in question.
In extending the deadline for meeting stage 2, CMS has extended the start of the stage 3 reporting period until 2017.