The CMS has been hard at work trying to make The Meaningful Use Program easier and more flexible for providers to successfully participate. The Final Rule offers more flexible reporting periods that are aligned with other programs to make participation easier. On top of that, the Final Rule works to increase interoperability support and improve patient outcomes.
Keeping up with the rules and changes isn't always easy, so we want to give you some of the latest facts you should know about the program. Most of the information collected in this article was pulled from the CMS Fact Sheet.
Meaningful Use for Optometrists:
The Important Facts about The Final Rule
You'll have more time to participate.
The Final Rule has moved from fiscal year to calendar year reporting for all providers beginning in 2015. Included with that is a 90 day reporting period in 2015 for all providers, for new participants in 2016 and 2017, and for any provider moving to Stage 3 in 2017.
In 2015, providers need to report on their use of EHRs for any 90 day period within 2015 by February 29, 2016.
There is more flexibility to choose measures that work for you.
The CMS restructured the objectives and measures of the Incentive Programs in 2015 through 2017 to align with Stage 3, while also modifying patient action measures in Stage 2.
Provisions in 2015 through 2017:
- 10 objectives for EPs including one public health reporting objective, down from 18 total objectives in prior stages.
- Clinical Quality Measures reporting for EPs remains as previously finalized.
- In Stage 2, instead of requiring that 5% of patients view, download, or transmit their electronic health records, the rule stipulates that only one patient seen by a provider must do so.
- Instead of attesting that 5% of patients have exchanged secure electronic messages with providers, EPs must only attest that they have the capability to do so.
For Stage 3 in 2017 and subsequent years:
- 8 objectives for EPs: In Stage 3, more than 60% of the proposed measures require interoperability, up from 33% in Stage 2.
- Public health reporting with flexible options for measure selection.
- CQM reporting aligned with CMS quality reporting programs.
- Finalize the use of application program interfaces that enable the development of new functionalities to build bridges across systems and provide increased data access.
Stage 3 requirements are optional in 2017, and providers who choose to start Stage 3 in 2017 will have a 90 day reporting period.
You can still file for exemptions.
We've talked about exemptions before, and the CMS is encouraging providers to apply for exemptions if they had trouble with or needed to switch their EHR vendor, or experienced challenges due to the timing of the rules and EHR implementation.