Today, August 23, 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) released the Final Rule for Meaningful Use Stage 2. With regard to timing most of the Stage 2 Rule is what we expected and planned upon, such as the delay of Stage 2 until 2014. However, there was one element of the final rule that pleasantly surprised even us, and should do the same for our MediTouch users.
Meaningful Use Stage 2 Timeline Delay
The Final Rule for Meaningful Use Stage 2 released today states that there will be a delay in the implementation of the onset of Stage 2 criteria until 2014. According to CMS, “In the Stage 1 final rule, we established that any provider who first attested to Stage 1 criteria in 2011 would begin using Stage 2 criteria in 2013. This final rule delays the onset of those Stage 2 criteria until 2014, which we believe provides the needed time for vendors to develop CEHRT.” As we’ve previously posited, based on CMS’ proposed Meaningful Use Stage 2 Rule and public comments, 2013 was simply an unrealistic goal given the lack of Stage 1 progress at that time and the sheer number of programs already set to be implemented in 2013. CMS heeded the public’s comments and their own proposal, so Meaningful Use Stage 2 will be delayed until 2014 as expected.
The pleasant surprise to come out of CMS’ Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule is that doctors will only be required to attest for 3 months of Meaningful Use for the first year of Stage 2, rather than the expected year-long attestation process. The Final Rule of Meaningful Use Stage 2 states:
“We are also introducing a special 3-month EHR reporting period, rather than a full year of reporting for providers attesting to either Stage 1 of Stage 2 in 2014 in order to allow time for providers to implement newly certified CEHRT. In future years, providers who are not in their initial year of demonstrating meaningful use must meet criteria for 12-month reporting periods. The 3-month reporting period allows providers flexibility in their first year of meeting Stage 2 without warranting any delay for Stage 3. This policy is consistent with CMS’ commitment to ensure that Stage 3 occurs on schedule (implemented 2016).”
The 3 month attestation window, affords providers the ability to acclimate themselves to their EHR/EMR platform, learn the ropes, and get used to charting and conducting their daily routine through their new, computerized system, prior to being required to attest to Meaningful Use. The shortened attestation period also means that there has never been a better time to adopt an EHR/EMR system. After 2014, the year-long Meaningful Use attestation period becomes mandatory, in anticipation of Meaningful Use Stage 3.
Be Prepared for Meaningful Use Stage 2 with MediTouch EHR®
If you’ve been waiting for the Meaningful Use Stage 2 final Rule, or simply procrastinating, there is no better time to adopt the all-in-one MediTouch EHR. HealthFusion® has even created a Meaningful Use Fast Track program to help providers expedite MediTouch EHR implementation and earn their full Meaningful Use incentive payment, but time is running out! Contact HealthFusion today, and experience the multitude of MediTouch features for yourself, during a free, personal demonstration with one of our award-winning MediTouch representatives, and get on the fast track to Meaningful Use.