CHA News Article

CMS and ONC Announce Stage 2 Meaningful Use Extension, Stage 3 Delay
2014 EHR certification requirements remain in effect

In a recent blog post, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) proposed a new timeline for the implementation of meaningful use for the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs. The new timeline would extend stage 2 through 2016 and delay stage 3 until 2017 for providers who have completed at least two years of stage 2.

The delay is intended to give CMS more time to analyze feedback on stage 2 progress and outcomes to better inform stage 3 rulemaking. However, the announcement does not change certification requirements for 2014, and providers are still required to upgrade or adopt technology that meets the 2014 EHR certification standards, regardless of which stage of meaningful use they are in. CMS expects to release proposed rulemaking for stage 3 and corresponding ONC rulemaking for the 2017 edition of the ONC standards and certification criteria in the fall of 2014.

The proposal also includes a more consistent approach to updating ONC’s certification regulations through more frequent updating of criteria and providing more opportunity for public comment. ONC expects to release a proposed rule for new 2015 certification requirements that would address problems found with 2014 requirements. However, ONC expects to propose adoption of 2015 requirements as voluntary, with 2014 requirements remaining as the baseline certification requirements for meeting the Certified EHR Technology definition.