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CMS-ONC Issue a Final Rule on Changes to Medicare EHR Incentive Program for 2014

September 5, 2014— The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Aug. 29 issued a final rule allowing providers increased flexibility to report 2014 objectives and measures as part of the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program - Meaningful Use (MU) [see Washington Highlights, July 25]. The rule also finalizes changes to the MU timeline for providers that began participating in the program in 2011 and 2012. This rule applies only to the CY 2014 reporting period.

Recognizing that many providers and hospitals were not able to upgrade to 2014 certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) due to product delays and availability, providers now have three options to report objectives and measures.

CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will allow providers to continue to use 2011 edition CEHRT to meet stage 1 objectives, a combination of 2011 and 2014 CEHRT to meet stage 1 or stage 2 objectives, or 2014 edition CEHRT to meet stage 1 or stage 2 objectives. If a provider chooses to use only 2011 CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 CEHRT, they must attest that they could not fully implement 2014 CEHRT due to “availability delays.”

The final rule also adjusts the timeline for providers who first became meaningful users in 2011 and 2012. In this scenario, Stage 3 would not begin until 2017, one year later than the previously established timeline.

The rule is published in the Sept. 4 Federal Register.


Len Marquez
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Senior Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806