Late on Friday August 29th the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final rule that allows healthcare providers more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use for the EHR Incentive Program reporting period for 2014. This final rule is basically unchanged from the proposed rule that was first announced in May and is scheduled to be published with the Federal Register on September 4, 2014.
The rule pushes back the beginning of the third stage of meaningful use for the first group of adopters until January 1, 2017, as opposed to the old standard of January 1, 2016.
In addition, many providers who are struggling with adoption of the 2014 CEHRT will be granted more flexibility. Eligible providers essentially now have an extra year to use 2011 Edition software if they can attest that they could not fully implement the 2014 certified version of their EHR because of delays. CMS recognized that there were issues with the availability of technology because of constraints on software companies due to late certification and high demand. It is important to note that you must have completed the Security Risk Assessment Measure prior to the end of the reporting period that you are choosing.
The timing of this rule is far from ideal and is leaving many to question the best approach and to understand exactly what they need to do to meet Meaningful Use this year. Netgain has resources that can help you with these questions.