New rules expected to arrive sometime this spring should reduce the 2015 Meaningful Use reporting period to just 90 days from the previously required full year. Many hospitals and health IT organizations were clamoring for a change to reduce the reporting burden for eligible providers and hospitals.
This change and the other proposals listed below will potentially help many providers who have already made steps towards implementing EHR systems but were not capable of reporting for the full year.
- Realigning hospital reporting periods to the calendar year to allow eligible hospitals more time to incorporate 2014 Edition software into their workflows and to better align with other quality program.
- Modifying other aspects of the programs to match long-term goals, reduce complexity and lessen providers’ reporting burden
The new rules are a welcome reaction to a letter written to CMS this past September co-signed by healthcare industry heavyweights CHIME, HIMSS, MGMA, AHA, and the AMA, urging the agency to address 2015 reporting period requirements. While adoption of EHRs has risen steadily since the first year of the EHR Incentive Program, many providers are struggling to provide all the necessary information in the time frame required. The letter proposed that HHS should “provide for a shortened, 90-day EHR reporting period in 2015, which would give time for providers to continue their transition without having to drop out of the program.”
The new rule “would be intended to be responsive to provider concerns about software implementation, information exchange readiness, and other related concerns in 2015,” wrote Patrick Conway, MD, chief medical officer at CMS, in a Jan. 29 blog post announcing the agency’s decision. “It would also be intended to propose changes reflective of developments in the industry and progress toward program goals achieved since the program began in 2011.”