CMS Proposal Gives Flexibility for EHR Use

Eligible health professionals not yet up to speed with new 2014 certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) will receive more time and flexibility thanks to a new proposed rule published Tuesday.

The proposed rule, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), would let providers use the 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for the EHR reporting period this year for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

National coordinator for health information technology Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H, M.Sc. said the new rule is an important step in improving the nation’s health care system.

“The steps we are taking today will give new options to those who, through no fault of their own, have been unable to get the new 2014 Edition technology, including those at high risk, such as smaller providers and rural hospitals,” DeSalvo said in a news release.

Beginning in 2015, all eligible hospitals and professionals would still be required to report using 2014 Edition CEHRT, says CMS. Since the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs began in 2011, more than 370,000 hospitals and professionals nationwide have received an incentive payment.

The new rule also proposes to extend Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs through 2016 and begin Stage 3 in 2017.

“We have seen tremendous participation in the EHR Incentive Programs since they began,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in the same release. “By extending Stage 2, we are being receptive to stakeholder feedback to ensure providers can continue to meet meaningful use and keep momentum moving forward.”

Written by Cassandra Dowell

Cassandra Dowell