Healthcare News & Insights

Stage 2 Meaningful Use final rule released by feds

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its final rule for Stage 2 Meaningful Use of EHRs, with some changes made since the rule was first proposed. 

CMS first published a proposal for the Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements in February, followed by a 60-day period for comments from the public. The final rule was published in the August 23 edition of the Federal Register.

To qualify to receive government incentive payments for adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), hospitals and providers will need to meet the new requirements beginning in 2014.

The final is similar to the proposed Stage 2 Meaningful Use rule, which we detailed in an earlier post. However, some changes have been made for the final rule. Most notably, new menu set objectives have been added, and some of the requirements have been scaled back.

In the proposed rule, physicians would have had to choose three out of five menu objectives to complete, and hospitals would have to choose two out of four. The final rule adds a sixth item for EPs and two more items for doctors:

  1. Recording clinical notes in an EHR is now a menu objective for physicians and hospitals, and
  2. Outpatient lab reporting is now a menu objective for hospitals.

In the final rule, physicians and hospitals will both have to choose three out of six menu objectives.

The final rule also reduces the thresholds for some of the requirements. For example, the proposal would have required facilities to provide online access to health records for 10% of their patients, but that number has been scaled back to 5%. Also, a menu set objective requiring providers to make more than 40% of imaging results accessible in an EHR has been reduced to 10% in the final rule.

In addition to the final rule for Stage 2, the feds are also preparing a rule for Stage 3 Meaningful Use, which is scheduled to take effect in 2016.

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