The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have published the final rules for Stage 2 of meaningful use.
The federal incentive program for Medicare and Medicaid physicians to adopt electronic medical records (EMRs) began in January 2011. Stage 1 focuses on collecting data and starting to use decision-support tools.
To date, more than 120,000 eligible health-care providers have qualified to participateâ€”significantly more than the federal government had hoped to enlist by now. Around $6.6 billion has been paid out in incentives.
Now itâ€™s time for the next step. The big push with Stage 2 is to move beyond data collection to improving care. They contain 20 measures for physicians, of which 17 are core and three of six are menu.
Stage 2 rules will become effective for program participants in the program no earlier than 2014.
One of the changes physicians might like is â€œbatch attestationâ€. Providers who are part of groups will no longer have to attest to participation in the program one-by-one; they can do so together.
The rules also lower thresholds for some measures. In previous proposals for Stage 2, for example, providers had to send a summary-of-care record for more than 65 percent of transitions of care and referrals. Now, itâ€™s 50 percent.
The Stage 2 rules can be found in the Federal Register.