House Bill Looks to Reduce 2015 Meaningful Use Reporting Period

Flex-IT Act Seeks Additional Flexibility in Reporting Meaningful Use Requirements in 2015

On Tuesday, House lawmakers introduced bill HR 5481, seeking to give Eligible Professionals (EPs) and Eligible Hospitals (EHs) participating in the CMS EHR Incentive program additional flexibility in for reporting meaningful use requirements in 2015.

On Friday, August 29 CMS and ONC released the newest final rule allowing for more flexibility in how certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) is used to meet meaningful use in the 2014 reporting period. Specifically, 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT in 2014 can be used this year, moving the 2014 CEHRT requirements forward to 2015. The rule also finalizes the extension of Stage 2 through 2016 for certain providers and moves the Stage 3 timeline to 2017 for providers who first became meaningful users of EHR technology in 2011 or 2012. You can read Jim Tate’s analysis of this new final rule and some of the nuances that come with it.

One thing the new final rule doesn’t do is relax the year-long reporting period for Stage 2 in 2015.  Many organizations and stakeholders were hoping the new rule would allow for a 90-day reporting period for any quarter for Stage 2 in 2015. The Flexibility in Health IT Reporting Act, or Flex-IT Act, was introduced by Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) and James Matheson (D-Utah). The bill seeks to change the full year reporting requirement in 2015 to 90 days, regardless of what stage you are in . From the bill:

In specifying the EHR reporting period under part 495 of title 42, Code of Federal Regulations, for purposes of titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall continue through 2015 (in the case of eligible professionals) and fiscal year 2015 (in the case of eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals) to permit the use of a 3-month quarter EHR reporting period to demonstrate meaningful use for purposes of such part, without regard to the payment year or the stage of meaningful use criteria involved.

You can read the full bill here.