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HHS/CMS RIN: 0938-AS26 Publication ID: Fall 2014 
Title: Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs--Stage 3 (CMS-3310-P) 
Abstract:

This proposed rule would establish policies related to Stage 3 of meaningful use for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Stage 3 will focus on improving health care outcomes and further advance interoperability.

 
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services(HHS)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: 45 CFR 170    42 CFR 412    42 CFR 413    42 CFR 495   
Legal Authority: PL 111-5, title IV of Division B   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

This rule is necessary to implement the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that provide incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs that adopt and meaningfully use certified EHR technology. The rule specifies applicable criteria for demonstrating Stage 3 of meaningful use.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

ARRA amended titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act (the Act) to authorize incentive payments to EPs, eligible hospitals, CAHs, and Medicare Advantage (MA) Organizations to promote the adoption and meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

Alternatives:

None. In this proposed rule, CMS will implement Stage 3, another stage of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program as required by ARRA. We are proposing the Stage 3 criteria that EP's, eligible hospitals, and CAHs must meet in order to successfully demonstrate meaningful use under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, focusing on advanced use of EHR technology to promote improved outcomes for patients.  Stage 3 will also propose changes to the reporting period, timelines, and structure of the program, including providing a single definition of meaningful use. These changes will provide a flexible, yet, clearer framework to ensure future sustainability of the EHR program and reduce confusion stemming from multiple stage requirements.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

We expect that benefits to the program will accrue in the form of savings to Medicare through the Medicare payment adjustments. Expected qualitative benefits, such as improved quality of care and better health outcomes are unable to be quantified at this time, but we believe that savings will likely result from reductions in the cost of providing care.

Risks:

CMS anticipates many positive effects of adopting EHR on health care providers, apart from the incentive payments to be provided under this proposed rule. We believe there are benefits that can be obtained by eligible hospitals and EPs, including: reductions in medical recordkeeping costs, reductions in repeat tests, decreases in length of stay, and reduced errors. When used effectively, EHRs can enable providers to deliver health care more efficiently. For example, EHRs can reduce the duplication of diagnostic tests, prompt providers to prescribe cost effective generic medications, remind patients about preventive care, reduce unnecessary office visits, and assist in managing complex care. 

We are working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to ensure that the Stage 3 meaningful use definition coordinates with the standards and certification requirements being proposed and that there is sufficient time to upgrade and implement these changes.   Stage 2 has been extended so that Stage 3 will not begin until 2017.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  02/00/2015 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions  Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Elizabeth S. Holland
Technical Advisor
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, MS: S2-26-17, 7500 Security Boulevard,
Baltimore, MD 21244
Phone:410 786-1309
Email: elizabeth.holland@cms.hhs.gov

 
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