Final Rules Issued by CMS and HHS to Advance EHRs with Added Simplicity and Flexibility

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 7, 2015) – As an organization committed to sharing newly released and important Electronic Health Record (EHR) information, OFMQ announces that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released Meaningful Use final rules on October 6. The final rules simplify requirements and add new flexibilities for providers and hospitals making electronic health information available.

“The simplicity of the final rule does not negate the importance of Meaningful Use.  It is important that we increase patient and family engagement through the usage of patient portal to promote more involvement in one’s care,” said Lindsey Wiley, HIT Manager for OFMQ.  “Care coordination and the ability to communicate electronically between settings of care are imperative to increase efficiencies and provide the highest quality of care possible for patients.”   
After considering more than 2,500 comments on the two proposed rules to create the final policies, CMS made significant changes to ease the reporting burden for all providers, support health information exchange, and improve patient outcomes. In summary, some of the highlights include:

  • New Final Rule combines Stage 3 and Changes to Meaningful Use in 2015 through 2017 proposed rules
  • 90-day reporting period in 2015
    • EPs can use any consecutive 90-days between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015
    • EHs can use any consecutive 90-days between October 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015
  • Full calendar year reporting period in 2016 (unless you are a first time Meaningful User)
  • Multiple Objectives and Measures removed that are redundant, duplicative or topped out.
  • NEW Objectives for 2015:
  • Protect Patient Health Information
  • Clinical Decision Support
  • Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE)
  • Electronic Prescribing
  • Health Information Exchange (Summary of Care)
  • Patient-Specific Education
  • Medication Reconciliation
  • Patient Electronic Access
  • Secure Electronic Messaging (EPs Only)
  • Public Health and Clinical Data Registry Reporting
  • Additional exclusions for providers that were scheduled to complete Stage 1 in 2015.
  • Changes to patient engagement objectives
    • Threshold for Measure 2 of Patient Electronic Access objective has been changed from greater than 5% to greater than or equal to 1 patient.
    • Secure Electronic messaging:
      • 2015 – functionality is enabled within the EHR
  • Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA):
  • Released April 16, 2015
  • Proposes to sunset MU payment adjustments for EPs at the end of 2018
  • Establishment of a Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) which would incorporate MU
  • In light of MACRA, final rule allows for 60-day comment period on provisions surrounding MIPS.

For more information, visit http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2015pres/10/20151006a.html. If you have questions, contact OFMQ’s Health Information Technology department for assistance at ofmqhit@ofmq.com.