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CMS Finalizes 2015 Meaningful Use Proposed Rules

By: Samantha McAlister | October 7th, 2015

CMS Finalizes 2015 Meaningful Use Proposed Rules Blog Feature

Late yesterday afternoon, the long awaited day finally arrived when CMS officially announced that the proposed rules regarding Meaningful Use, originally announced back in April of this year, are final!

The changes do not alter the calculation of the measures so no software update is needed for 2015 attestation reporting. Here's how the latest news from CMS will affect you and your practice.


The Highlights and What This Means for You

  •  The reporting period for 2015 is officially any consecutive 90 days. Therefore, if you’ve struggled with the Meaningful Use requirements, for either Stage 1 or Stage 2, you have the last 90 days of this year to really buckle down and make an effort to meet the thresholds. On the other side of the coin, if you excelled at the beginning of the year and already have a 90 day window where you’ve met the thresholds for your perspective stage, then you have some breathing room for the rest of 2015.
  • Patient Portal Requirements dramatically reduced: There are two patient portal requirements in Stage 2 Meaningful Use -- one requires patients access their clinical summaries through the patient portal, and the other that requires patients send the office a message through the patient portal. The thresholds for each measure used to be 5% of patients seen during your reporting period. After yesterday’s announcement, however, only one patient has to access their clinical summary and the messaging requirement is reduced to a yes/no, attesting to the fact that the messaging feature is fully functional.
  • Meaningful Use attestation for 2015: The attestation period will be open from Jan. 4 to Feb. 29, 2016 for everyone, regardless of the stage to which they are attesting.
  • Stage 3 Meaningful Use is not going to be delayed: Everyone participating in Meaningful Use will have to be compliant with Stage 3 requirements by the 2018 reporting year. In 2017, it will be an option to report Stage 3 requirements, and providers who choose to participate in the new requirements that year will have a 90 day reporting period. Stage 3 Meaningful Use will reveal a reduction in Core measures and a focus on interoperability. The requirements for Stage 3 have yet to be finalized.

Don’t get too relaxed!

It is important to note that the Meaningful Use reporting period reduction does not correlate to the PQRS reporting period. PQRS is still a full year reporting period. This is very important to note and understand.

Therefore, it is recommended that you continue documenting the Clinical Quality Measures for Meaningful use for the full year, as they are also used in Direct EHR reporting for PQRS. Stopping documentation of these measures could jeopardize your ability to utilize Direct EHR PQRS reporting.

It is still highly recommended that you prepare for Meaningful Use audits during your reporting period. Any yes/no attestation measures should be backed up by screenshots. That way, if you find yourself in the middle of a Meaningful Use audit, you will be able to prove your “yes” answers.

Now that the Patient Portal Measure for Patient Messaging (Core 17 in Stage 2) is a yes/no measure, make sure to take screenshots proving functionality. For example, it might be a good idea to log onto your patient portal as a test patient and send a message to your own office. Take screenshots of both the message feature on the patient portal as well as the message as it’s displayed within your EHR.

For access to the final rules and important dates to remember, please click here.

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