Today, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule for Stage 3 of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. Separately, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued a proposed rule for the 2015 Edition of Health Information Technology (Health IT).
EHR Incentive Programs Stage 3 Proposed Rule
The Stage 3 proposed rule focuses on making the EHR Incentive programs more flexible, simplifying and reducing burden of providers participating in the program, driving the interoperability of health IT, and improving patient outcomes.
The CMS Stage 3 Meaningful Use proposed rule includes proposals that would:
- Realign the reporting period into a single one for all providers starting in 2017 (hospitals will participate on the calendar year instead of the fiscal year);
- Allow providers the option to start Stage 3 of meaningful use in either 2017 or 2018 (required in 2018), which gives providers an extra year to start than under current regulation;
- Reduce the overall number of objectives to eight in order to focus on the advanced use of EHRs;
- Remove measures that are redundant or obtained wide-spread adoption;
- Align clinical quality measure reporting with other CMS programs; and
- Propose the use of application program interfaces (APIs) that could enable the development of new functionalities to build bridges across systems and provide increased data access.
The Stage 3 proposed rule’s scope is generally limited to the requirements and criteria for meaningful use in 2017 and subsequent years. CMS is considering additional changes to meaningful use beginning in 2015 through separate rulemaking.
2015 Edition Health IT Proposed Rule
The ONC 2015 Edition proposed rule builds on the foundation established with the 2011 and 2014 Editions. It proposes to adopt standards and certification criteria designed to foster innovation, open new market opportunities, provide more choices to the care community for electronic health information exchange, and support ONC’s vision for interoperability.
Specifically, the 2015 Edition proposed rule would:
· Enable a more flexible certification program that supports developer innovation and focuses on interoperability;
· Adopt new and updated vocabulary and content standards for the structured recording and exchange of electronic health information;
· Facilitate the accessibility and exchange of electronic health information by including enhanced data portability, transitions of care, and application programming interface (API) capabilities as part of the 2015 Edition Base EHR definition;
· Adopt standards to address health disparities, including standards for the collection of social, psychological, and behavioral data, and for the accessibility of health IT;
· Prioritize the privacy and security of data a priority, by ensuring relevant privacy and security capabilities and by addressing the exchange of electronic sensitive health information through the Data Segmentation for Privacy standard;
· Improve patient safety by applying enhanced user-center design principles to health IT, enhancing patient matching, requiring relevant electronic health information to be exchanged (e.g., Unique Device Identifiers), improving the surveillance of certified health IT, and making more information about certified products publicly available and accessible; and
· Increase the reliability and transparency of certified health IT through surveillance and disclosure requirements.
A press release will be available at: http://www.hhs.gov/news. A Consumer Fact Sheet will be available at: http://healthit.gov/newsroom and a Technical Fact Sheet for the 2015 Edition Proposed Rule will be available at: http://healthit.gov/newsroom.
The Stage 3 and 2015 Edition proposed rules may be viewed at: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.
The Draft 2015 Edition Certification Test Procedures will also be published and may be viewed at http://healthit.gov/2015-Edition-Certification.
More information the EHR Incentive Programs is available on the CMS website at http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/index.html.
More information on ONC’s editions of certification criteria can be found at http://www.healthit.gov/policy-researchers-implementers/standards-and-certification-regulations.
If you have any questions regarding the Stage 3 proposed rule, please contact the CMS Office of Legislation. Please contact Blair Hedgepeth, ONC Legislative Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding the 2015 Edition proposed rule. Thank you.