CMS addresses Meaningful Use Stage 3 in possible rule

The requirements of the third stage of Meaningful Use, as outlined in a proposed rule, are reportedly heavier than some of its predecessors.

Looking ahead, medical practices should consider the necessary procedures for keeping pace with Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published a proposed rule to address exactly that. According to the text of the rule itself, this stage would incorporate all providers into a single set of standards by 2018 and would be the final phase of the Meaningful Use program.

In the text of this proposed rule document, the HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) address the feedback and concerns from stakeholders received in the past. It has particularly done this by creating a simpler, more efficient set of Meaningful Use operational objectives to assist participants in compliance efforts.

The deadline for use of newer editions of EHR technology will be 2018, and, under this proposed rule, most physicians and hospitals would have a 365-day calendar year reporting period starting in 2017, as opposed to the 90 days previously established for 2015.

Ken Terry of Medscape Medical News recently commented on these proposed regulations as they relate to the previous stages of Meaningful Use and the ways that physicians have reacted.

"Despite the loud complaints of physicians about the difficulty of satisfying the stage 2 requirements for care summary exchange at transitions of care and patient record sharing, CMS is doubling down on those criteria in stage 3," he writes. "It is also adding new objectives that some clinicians might find onerous."

Achieving the goals laid out by the government for different sectors could require specific data reporting based on their most prominent operations and pressing industry needs. A physician consultant could help guide a practitioner to better compliance through procedures chosen specifically for where they currently are in regards to government health IT requirements.

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