CMS releases proposed rule on Meaningful Use reporting period

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released the proposed rule that would shorten the Meaningful Use attestation period to 90 days for 2015.

In an announcement sent to FierceHealthIT late Friday, CMS said there will be a 90-day reporting period aligned with the calendar year for all Meaningful Use participants in 2015 and for new participants 2016. Returning participants must attest for a full year in 2016, but they can do so over the calendar year as opposed to the federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

CMS says the rule also modifies objectives in Stage 2 related to patient engagement. Additionally, the rule works to "align Stage 1 and Stage 2 objectives and measures with the long-term proposals for Stage 3," CMS says.

CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released the Stage 3 proposed rule last month, making several expected changes to Meaningful Use.

The Stage 3 proposed rule specifies the Meaningful Use criteria and maintains, for the most part, payment adjustments and hardship exceptions. Following a proposed "optional" year in 2017, starting in 2018 all providers would report on the same streamlined definition of Meaningful Use at the Stage 3 level, regardless of prior participation. It would also require reporting on a calendar-year basis starting in 2017.

When CMS first announced the shorter reporting period in late January, it was met with widespread approval from industry leaders, may of whom said it will provide relief for providers.

Todd Richardson, senior vice president and CIO at Wausau, Wisconsin-based Aspirus Inc., told FierceHealthIT at the time that, while some hospitals may be further along than others, overall it will be helpful.

"Given the amount of feedback they have received, it is good to know that these efforts do make a difference and that our collective voice is heard," he said.

To learn more:
- here's the proposed rule