Healthcare News & Insights

Deadline extended: Hospital can use 2011 CEHRT software for 2014

175215905Good news: Hospitals get one more year to use the 2011 Edition certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) software before they have to upgrade to the 2014 Edition. 

Recently, the department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a new proposed rule that would provide eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals more flexibility in how they use CEHRT to meet meaningful use requirements.

The proposed rule would let providers use one of the following options for the 2014 EHR reporting period for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs:

  • the 2011 Edition CEHRT, or
  • a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT.

However, beginning in 2015, all eligible hospitals and professionals would still be required to report using 2014 Edition CEHRT.

Additional provisions

Since the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs began in 2011, more than 370,000 hospitals and professionals nationwide have received an incentive payment.

“We have seen tremendous participation in the EHR Incentive Programs since they began,” said Marilyn Tavenner, CMS administrator, in a press 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.”

The proposed rule, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), also includes a provision that would formalize previously stated intention to extend Stage 2 through 2016 and begin Stage 3 in 2017. These proposed changes would address concerns that were raised and will encourage the continued adoption of certified EHR technology.

“Increasing the adoption of EHRs is key to improving the nation’s health care system and 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,” said Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, national coordinator for health information technology.

Reason for delay

Even though the 2014 Edition software was ready for adoption, there was an extensive installation backlog, which delayed implementation, and impacted the time hospitals had to effectively deploy the 2014 Edition CEHRT, according to the Federal Register.

Making the necessary patient safety, staff training and workflow changes in order to be prepared to demonstrate meaningful use in 2014 was going to take a large chunk of time.

“We understand that the delay in availability may limit a provider’s ability to fully implement 2014 Edition CEHRT across the facility. For example, (1) a hospital may have different systems in multiple settings, which all require an update and integration or (2) a provider may have certain 2014 Edition CEHRT functionality that, once implemented in a live setting, requires software patches or workflow changes.”

Therefore, the ONC is revisiting some of the requirements for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs for 2014.

CMS and the ONC strongly recommend that those who haven’t yet purchased EHR technology to obtain 2014 Edition CEHRT as they’ll still need to use 2014 Edition CEHRT for the EHR reporting period in 2015.

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