CMS Releases Final Stage 2 Rule for EHR Incentive

On August 23, 2012, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Final Rule for Stage 2 of CMS’ Medicare and Medicaid incentive. This rule builds upon and incorporates many Stage 1 requirements, while adding additional elements.

The following highlights regarding Stage 2 are important to note.

  1. Timeline. Stage 2 requirements will not become effective until 2014. In addition, for 2014 (and for 2014 only), “all providers regardless of their stage of meaningful use are only required to demonstrate meaningful use for a 3-month EHR reporting period.” The underlying rationale for the 3-month period is that CMS understands that providers will be transitioning to Stage 2 technology during 2014. CMS has provided the below table, which provides a helpful overview of the timeline.

  2. Core and Menu Objectives. To demonstrate Stage 2 meaningful use, eligible providers must satisfy 17 core objectives and 3 of 6 menu objectives, for a total of 20 core objectives. Hospitals (including CAHs) must satisfy a total of 19 core objectives (i.e., 16 + 3). For a detailed comparison of Stage 1 vs. Stage 2 objectives, click here.
  3. New areas of focus. The primary new areas of focus with regard to the core and menu objectives are: (1) Clinical quality measures; (2) Electronic exchange of summary care documents; and (3) Patient engagement.

To view an overview of Stage 2 Final Rule, visit CMS’ overview.