Healthcare News & Insights

Deadline extended for Stage 2 meaningful use requirements

The deadline for healthcare organizations enrolled in the Medicare EHR Incentive programs to meet stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements has been extended from 2013 to 2014.

Now, healthcare providers will have another year to comply after they have enrolled in the program. Doctors who act quickly and comply with the meaningful use standards by February 29, 2012, will be able to qualify for 2011 benefits.

The idea behind the incentive is to encourage doctors and hospitals to implement certified EHR technology in a meaningful manner, such as e-prescribing/refill automation, clinical decision support, online reminders and alerts, availability of electronic records and data, and reduction in errors. If the usage of certified EHR technology can be measured qualitatively and quantitatively, then it is considered “meaningful.”

According to Joe Kuchler, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, organizations who have met Stage 1 requirements should “design, develop, and release new functionality, and eligible hospitals [should] upgrade, implement and begin using the new functionality” as part of the Stage 2 requirements.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Obama administration has extended the deadline to provide more of an incentive for hospitals and doctors to use health IT to lower costs, improve quality and create jobs.

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