- At the end of the day on Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its final modifications for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use. This year only, providers can use technology certified to 2011 standards to meet Stage 2 requirements. Next year, 2014 certified technology will be used.
- Stage 3 has been delayed until 2017. This is likely due to the fact that Stage 2 attestation has been challenging for many providers. At the end of June, only four hospitals and 104 physicians and other individual providers had met requirements.
- Providers not meeting the standards by 2015 will be penalized through deductions in Medicare payments. Hospitals' reporting year is the federal fiscal year and providers' is the calendar year.
The delay is good for providers needing extra time for attestation. But there is a catch: Providers were hoping that CMS would allow a 90-day reporting period during any quarter in 2015 for attestation because of the delayed final ruling. Instead, CMS is requiring a year-long reporting period for attestation.
In a statement by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives after the ruling was given, the group said, "This single provision has severely muted the positive impacts of this final rule. Further, it has all but ensured that industry struggles will continue well beyond 2014. Most hospitals who take advantage of new pathways made possible through this final rule will not be in a position to meet Stage 2 requirements beginning October 1, 2014. This means that penalties avoided in 2014 will come in 2015, and millions of dollars will be lost due to misguided government timelines."
Want to read more? You may want to read this story about how patient engagement creates Stage 2 challenges for providers.