Hospitals have a newfound cushion of time to meet stage 3 meaningful-use measures, which they now won’t have to satisfy until 2019, a year later than was previously required.
According to a new timeline issued by the CMS Wednesday in the final Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System rule, hospitals can continue to use 2014 certified electronic health record technology through the end of 2018 and will be required to use 2015 certified EHR technology starting in 2019. This applies to Medicare payment and policies for patients discharged from hospitals between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018.
The change to certified EHR technology requirements mirrors the change for physicians in the Quality Payment Program proposed rule issued in June, which would also allow providers to continue using 2014 certified EHR technology for another year.
Right now, 96 products are certified for the 2015 edition, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s Certified Health IT Product List, compared to 3,749 certified for the 2014 edition. Trade groups and CIOs have been worrying as of late that leaving the 2015 certification requirement in place would have providers scrambling to get new technology in place. “By no longer requiring these new systems be in place by the start of 2018, a huge weight has been lifted off our collective shoulders,” said Liz Johnson, chair of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.
The final IPPS rule also changes the reporting period requirements. Now, hospitals can report clinical quality measures for just one quarter of 2017, rather than for the full year, thereby easing another burden and potentially putting off when hospitals need to be ready to report, as they could start reporting as late as October of 2018.