The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has cemented a 90-day reporting period for attesting to meaningful use of electronic health records, part of a variety flexibilities for hospitals and physicians in a final rule published Wednesday.
"We are establishing new requirements or revising existing requirements for eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs," stated the rule, which goes into effect October 1, 2017.
For 2018, CMS will allow a 90-day reporting period. This is a significant difference from the complete year that CMS had aimed for under the Obama administration. This change applies to hospitals and physicians in the Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use programs.
Also in 2018, CMS will allow healthcare providers to use 2014-certified EHRs, 2015-certified EHRs, or a combination. Initially, CMS was requiring 2015-edition EHRs beginning in January 2018. However, healthcare organizations had raised concerns that the 2015-certified EHRs were more sophisticated and that they would not have enough time to install and test the systems.
In a statement, CMS administrator Seema Verma said this final rule will provide flexibility for acute and long-term care hospitals as they treat Medicare's sickest patients.
Health IT associations have long called for a change to 90-day reporting.