On August 23, 2012, CMS issued the final rule on Meaningful Use Stage 2 criteria. This rule covers the Stage 2 criteria for Eligible Professionals (EPs), Eligible Hospitals (EHs) and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) for purposes of Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments for meaningful use of certified EHR technology. The rule's effective date will coincide with its actual publication (pending at the time of this page being published) in the Federal Register.
The Meaningful Use Stage 2 Rule covers a lot of territory, from new and revised Core and Menu Objectives and Measures for EPs, EHs and CAHs, to revised compliance timelines to revisions to penalties for healthcare organizations not adopting certified EHR technology over time.
Meaningful Use Stage 2 Reveals Changes to Core and Menu Objectives
There are some changes to the Core and Menu Objectives in Meaningful Use Stage 2 that EPs will have to address as they attest to meaningful use in 2014.
The Final Rule gives providers more time to meet the Meaningful Use Stage 2 criteria:
- Providers who attested to Stage 1 Meaningful Use in 2011 or 2012 would not have to meet Stage 2 criteria until 2014.
- Providers who attest to Stage 1 Meaningful Use in 2013 or later, would not have to meet Stage 2 requirements until the second year after meeting Stage 1 criteria.
Most of the Meaningful Use Stage 1 Core and Menu Objectives remain unchanged from the original versions. Two of those Objectives that were changed include:
- Core Measure 14: “Capability to exchange key clinical information (e.g., problem list)” among providers has been eliminated for CY 2013. Instead this measure is replaced with a measure covering “transitions of care”.
- Menu Objective 5: “Provide patients with timely electronic access to their health information” has been eliminated for CY 2014. Instead, this measure is replaced with a measure requiring allowing patients to view online, download and transmit electronic copies of health information.
Impact of Meaningful Use Stage 2 Criteria
The issuance of this final rule has implications both for providers attempting to meet the Meaningful Use Criteria, and for vendors providing certified EHR technology. For instance, providers attesting to meaningful use under Stage 1 in 2013 must make sure their vendor has upgraded its capabilities to provide transition of care summaries while retaining the capability to provide patients with timely electronic access to their health information
The Meaningful Use Stage 2 Objectives and Measures include:
- For EPs, 17 Core Objectives and three of six Menu Objectives, for a total of 20; and
- For EH/CAHs, 16 Core Objectives and three of six Menu Objectives, for a total of 19.
Several Stage 1 Menu Objectives have moved to the Core list, and several new objectives have been added to the Menu list. And the performance thresholds have increased for many objectives, which makes the capability to measure performance all the more important.