CMS proposal relaxes EHR reporting requirements

A proposed regulatory change from CMS would reduce reporting periods tied to the EHR Incentive Program.

A new proposed payment rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would ease up on EHR reporting requirements over the next two years.

The new rule, issued on Friday, follows recent calls from providers and the health IT community to scale back on Meaningful Use and quality data reporting requirements.

The proposed regulation, which covers the 2018 Medicare payments for hospital inpatient services, relaxes data reporting requirements for Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) that are part of the EHR Incentive program. In 2017, eligible hospitals demonstrating meaningful use for the first time would need to submit two self-selected quarters of CQM data and report at least six selected CQMs, down from eight.

For physicians, CMS wants to limit CQM reporting requirements to 90 days and align the program with the Merit-based Incentive Payment System.

The agency also plans to ease the Meaningful Use attestation period for hospitals and physicians from one full year to any continuous 90-day period in 2018. A new exception would be added to Medicare payment adjustments for physicians and hospitals that show meaningful EHR use “is not possible because their certified EHR technology has been decertified under ONC’s Health IT Certification Program.”

RELATED: 171,000 clinicians will get hit with Meaningful Use penalties

Although this is the first major payment regulation issued under Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, CMS offered similar flexibility when it released its Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System Rule in November. However, providers have continued to resist the transition to Meaningful Use Stage 3.

Last week, HIMSS was the most recent organization to call for Price to delay the 2015 Edition EHR Certification, which has been a point of contention for organizations that argue vendors are not prepared to meet the updated requirements.