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CMS Announces Stage 2 Meaningful Use for Health IT Incentive Program

Posted on 8/28/2012 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates
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Late last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a final rule to govern “Stage 2” of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. As a reminder, in 2009, Congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, setting aside about $30 billion for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to qualifying doctors, eligible health care professionals and hospitals that adopt and meaningfully use certified EHR technology to drive improvements in care. Since the program began in January, 2011, more than 120,000 eligible health care professionals and more than 3,300 hospitals have qualified to participate in the program and receive an incentive payment.

Most of the Stage 1 core objectives that were proposed are being finalized for Stage 2, and most experts view Stage 2 as simply building on
Stage 1.  However, of particular interest to NTOCC is that one of the core objectives to measure meaningful use has changed from the test of “exchange of key clinical information” core objective in Stage 1 in favor of a more robust “transitions of care” core objective in Stage 2.  In addition, the “provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information” objective will be replaced by the “electronic/online access” core objective.
 
For more information on CMS’ announcement, please view the attached press release.  You may also find a fact sheet on CMS’s final rule here, and a fact sheet on ONC’s standards and certification criteria final rule at here.