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Meaningful Use 2015: Proposed Flexibility Rule

By: Samantha McAlister | May 1st, 2015

Meaningful Use 2015: Proposed Flexibility Rule Blog Feature

flexibility_rule.jpgMany of you have probably heard the rumors that CMS has released a proposed Meaningful Use flexibility rule, which could change the rules for the 2015 Meaningful Use reporting period. A proposal was released in April and rule-makers have 60 days to discuss the changes before anything is finalized. Experts in the field agree that a final decision should be released in the July/August timeframe.

How Would These Meaningful Use Reporting Period Changes Affect Me? 

The following is a summary of the changes that will affect YOU, should these changes come to fruition:

  • The 2015 reporting period will be reduced to any consecutive 90 days, not tied to a quarter, to allow providers additional time to implement certified technology
  • Complexity of the objectives will decrease by removing reporting requirements on measures which have become redundant, duplicative, and/or topped out through advancements in EHR function and provider performance. Along with this will be the aligning of the stages of Meaningful Use, creating similar objectives and measures throughout each stage and a reporting period aligned with the calendar year (versus the fiscal year)

Even if these changes take effect, please keep one thing in mind—if you are reporting PQRS through Nextech for 2015, you will still have to report Meaningful Use in your EMNs regardless of what CMS decides about the length of the reporting period (because PQRS is a full-year reporting period).

Current Stage/Structure, Retained Objectives, and Proposed Structure

Current Stage 1 Structure

Retained Objectives

Proposed Structure

  • 13 core objectives
  • 5 out of 9 possible menu objectives including 1 public health objective
  • 6 core objectives
  • 3 menu objectives
  • 2 public health objectives
  • 9 core objectives
  • 1 public health objective (2 measure options)

Current Stage 2 Structure

Retained Objectives

Proposed Structure

  • 17 core objectives including public health objectives
  • 3 out of 6 menu objectives
  • 9 core objectives
  • 0 menu objectives
  • 4 public health objectives
  • 9 core objectives
  • 1 public health objective (2 measure options)


Patient Portal Measures Proposed Changes

  • Regarding Core 7b, where patients are required to view their clinical summaries on the patient portal: CMS proposes to remove the 5 percent threshold and instead require that a minimum of 1 patient (seen by the provider during the EHR reporting period) views, downloads, or transmits his or her health information to a third party. This would demonstrate that the capability is fully enabled, as well as that workflows have been established by the provider to support the action.
  • Regarding Core 17 where patients are required to send the office a message via the patient portal: CMS proposes to convert the from the 5 percent threshold to a yes/no attestation to the following statement—"The capability for patients to send and receive a secure electronic message was enabled during the EHR reporting period." These changes are intended to allow providers to work toward meaningful patient engagement through health IT, using the methods best suited to their practices and patient populations.

Important Note: The CMS attestation website is not currently accepting attestations for the 2015 reporting period. If and when these changes are finalized, attestations for 2015 will not be accepted until January of 2016 in order to allow time for CMS to modify the attestation website.

A copy of the full proposal can be found at the following link: FULL CMS PROPOSAL.