On May 23, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) jointly published proposed rules extending certain deadlines for meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR) and implementation of certified electronic health records technology (CEHRT). See 79 Fed. Reg. 29,732 (May 23, 2014).
In response to concerns from providers, hospitals, and vendors about the feasibility of implementing the 2014 Edition CEHRT, CMS and ONC propose allowing providers and hospitals to use, for reporting year 2014, either the 2011 Edition CEHRT or the 2014 Edition CEHRT, or some combination of the two. However, providers seeking to avoid full implementation of the 2014 Edition must attest that they are unable to do so because of issues relating to the availability of the technology. The agencies make clear that this extension is only for one year; providers and hospitals will be required to fully implement the 2014 Edition for the 2015 reporting year. See 79 Fed. Reg. at 29,734-35, 29,738.
The proposed rulemaking also details a previously-announced one-year extension of the meaningful use deadlines for certain providers and hospitals. Specifically, the agencies propose to delay the Stage 3 meaningful use deadline from 2016 to 2017 for providers and hospital that first became meaningful users in 2011 or 2012. The agencies explain that “[t]he goal of this proposed change is two-fold: First, to allow CMS and ONC to focus efforts on the successful implementation of the enhanced patient engagement, interoperability, and health information exchange requirements in Stage 2; and second, to utilize data from Stage 2 participation to inform policy decisions for Stage 3.” The Stage 3 timelines for providers and hospitals that first became meaningful users after 2012 would remain the same. See id. at 29,736.
The agencies are accepting comments on their proposals until July 21, 2014.