2013 EHR Incentive Program Changes for Eligible Professionals

CMS EHR Incentive programsEHR Incentive Program Stage 1 Changes and Timing

Current final rules published in September for the CMS EHR Incentive program and 2014 stage 2 have also made changes for eligible professionals (EPs) beginning in 2013. Changes for hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) went into effect on October 1, 2012. For EPs, changes took effect January 1, 2013. CMS has published this list of Stage 1 Changes and Timing for 2013.

Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE)

Change: Addition of an alternative measure based on the total number of medication orders created during the EHR reporting period
Timing: 2013 and onward
Change: Revised the description of who can enter orders into the EHR and have it count as CPOE
Timing: 2013 and onward (regardless of what stage of meaningful use the provider is attesting to)

Electronic Prescribing

Change: Additional exclusion to the objective for electronic prescribing for providers who are not within a 10 mile radius of a pharmacy that accepts electronic prescriptions
Timing: 2013 and onward

Record and Chart Changes in Vital Signs

Change: Age limit increased for recording blood pressure in patients from ages 2 to ages 3; no age limit for height and weight
Timing: Optional in 2013; required starting in 2014
Change: Exclusion if the EP sees no patients 3 years or older, if all three vital signs are not relevant to their scope of practice, if height and weight are not relevant to their scope of practice, or if blood pressure is not relevant to their scope of practice
Timing: Optional in 2013; required starting in 2014

Public Health Reporting Objectives

Change: Require that providers perform at least one test of their certified EHR technology’s capability to send data to public health agencies, except where prohibited
Timing: Required in 2013 and onward (for all Stage 1 public health objectives)

Electronic Exchange of Key Clinical Information

Change: Objective for electronic exchange of key clinical information no longer required for Stage 1 for EPs, eligible hospitals, and CAHs
Timing: No longer required in 2013 and onward

For more detail on each each of these changes to the EHR Incentive Program, read the CMS Stage 1 Changes Tip Sheet.

For more information on Stage 2 final rule see our Dissecting Stage 2 Series or our category of posts on Stage 2 Meaningful Use.