CMS Final Rule Gives Healthcare Providers Flexibility in EHR Use

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule Friday that allows health care providers more flexibility in how they meet meaningful-use guidelines for the EHR Incentive Program reporting period for 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced.

Under the final rule, which left a previous proposal in May unchanged, more providers will be able to participate and meet important meaningful use objectives such as drug interaction and drug allergy checks, providing clinical summaries to patins, electronic prescribing, reporting on key public health data and reporting on quality measures. 

“We listened to stakeholder feedback and provided CEHRT flexibility for 2014 to help ensure providers can continue to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs forward,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a written statement. “We were excited to see that there is overwhelming support for this change.”

After soliciting comments and feedback from stakeholders, CMS identified ways to help eligible professionals, hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) implement and meaningfully use Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT).

Providers can now use the 2011 Edition CEHRT, or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT, for an EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. In 2015, however, all eligible professionals, hospitals and CAHs are required to use the 2014 Edition CEHRT. 

The final rule from CMS also finalizes the extension of Stage 2 through 2016 for certain providers who first became meaningful EHR users in 2011 or 2012. 

Written by Jason Oliva

Jason Oliva