Proposed IPPS rule tweaks Meaningful Use program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' 2016 inpatient and long-term care hospital policy and payment changes look to adjust the Meaningful Use program to further align it with its proposed rule implementing Stage 3, as well as other reporting programs.

The proposed IPPS rule, released April 17 and slated to run in the April 30 Federal Register, further moves payment from volume based to value based, but isn't heavy handed from an electronic health record standpoint. It proposes modifications to some of the clinical quality measure (CQM) reporting and submission requirements to align the CQM reporting period for electronic reporting for both the Meaningful Use and the Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) programs; outlines the options of certified EHR technology (CEHRT) providers may use; and establishes requirements for the version of electronic specifications (eCQMs) a provider must use for electronic submission of quality reporting data.   

For instance, it will maintain existing requirements for reporting for CQMs for 2016, and expand the set of CQMs available for reporting in the Meaningful Use program beginning in 2017. Reporting will be on a calendar year basis, to align with the Stage 3 proposed rule. Hospitals participating in the Meaningful Use program for the first time only have to report for 90 days in 2016; other hospitals will have a 365-day reporting period. They can continue to attest or to electronically report.

The rule also allows hospitals to continue to use 2014 edition CEHRT for 2016 even though the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has proposed a 2015 edition that may be available to some providers in 2016.

The rule proposes to increase operating payment rates 1.1 percent for general acute care hospitals that are Meaningful Users of EHRs and successfully participate in the hospital IQR program. Hospitals that do not successfully participate in the Hospital IQR Program and do not submit the required quality data will be subject to a one-fourth reduction of the market basket update; any hospital that is not a meaningful EHR user will have its update reduced by one-half of the market basket update in FY 2016.

Comments on the rule are due June 16; the final rule will be issued no later than August. 1.

To learn more:
- read the rule (.pdf)