CMS Releases Final Rule for Stage 2 Meaningful Use

Final Stage 2 Meaningful Use Arrives

August 23, 2012 – In a rather unceremonious way, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the long awaited Stage 2 Meaningful Use final rule yesterday. The rule is titled; Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program–Stage 2. The rule will go into effect 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register with exceptions. The definition of “meaningful EHR user” in §495.4 and the provisions in §495.6(f), §495.6(g), §495.8, §495.102(c), and part 495 subpart D, are all effective the date of publication in the Federal Register. Also, sections 495.302, 495.304, and 495.306 are applicable beginning payment year 2013.

In an HHS news release yesterday, Secretary Kathleen Seblius said, “The changes we’re announcing today will lead to more coordination of patient care, reduced medical errors, elimination of duplicate screenings and tests and greater patient engagement in their own care”. The programs has issued payments to over 120,000 eligible professionals and over 3,300 eligible hospitals since the start of the program in 2011. HHS claims this is more than half of all eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals and 1 out of every 5 eligible professionals.

In a CMS email announcement they outline Stage 2 Timing. This rule delays the begining of Stage 2 criteria from the Stage 1 original rule of 2013. EPs that have attested to Stage 1 in 2011 or 2012 will attest to Stage 2 in 2014. Refer to the CMS Stage 2 Final Rule Fact Sheet.

Summary from the final rule: This final rule specifies the Stage 2 criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments. In addition, it specifies payment adjustments under Medicare for covered professional services and hospital services provided by EPs, eligible hospitals, and CAHs failing to demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology (CEHRT) and other program participation requirements. This final rule revises certain Stage 1 criteria, as finalized in the July 28, 2010 final rule, as well as criteria that apply regardless of Stage.