CMS Released the Final Rule for Stage 2 Meaningful Use

Yesterday, August 23, 2012, it was announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for Stage 2 of the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Meaningful Use Incentive Programs. U.S. Secretary Sebelius states, “The changes we are announcing today will lead to more coordination of patient care, reduced medical errors, elimination of duplicate screenings and tests and patient engagement in their own care.”

In Healthcare Data Management’s recent post on EHR and Meaningful Use, we provided a table that illustrates the implementation of the stages of meaningful use, as well as the maximum incentive payments that eligible professionals can earn based on the year in which they begin their reporting periods. As CMS previously suggested and yesterday’s final rule confirms, providers will not be required to demonstrate Stage II meaningful use before 2014 (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 originally planned for Stage 2 to begin in 2013).

As a summary of the key points of the three Stages of Meaningful Use, the Department of Health & Human Services published the following description in yesterday’s news release:

      – Stage 1 sets the basic functionalities electronic health records must include such as capturing data electronically and providing patients with electronic copies of health information.
      – Stage 2 (which will begin as early as 2014) increases health information exchangebetween providers and promotes patient engagement by giving patients secure online access to their health information.
      – Stage 3 will continue to expand meaningful use objectives to improve health care outcomes.

HHS Press Office, August 23, 2012

Yesterday’s final rule explained several key revisions, including new guidelines for:

– Group Reporting
– Patient Engagement
– Electronic Exchange of Summary of Care Documents
– Outpatient Lab Reporting for Hospitals
– Hospital-based Eligible Provider definition
– Hardship exceptions

As always, Healthcare Data Management strives to offer its healthcare providers with the most current information on technology and regulations as they become available. For more information on how our full-service medical billing company can help your practice meets its needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us.