Home > EHR, meaningful use, Medicare > White House Reviewing CMS and ONC Proposed Rules to Update the EHR Incentive Program and HIT Certification Requirements

White House Reviewing CMS and ONC Proposed Rules to Update the EHR Incentive Program and HIT Certification Requirements

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) submitted proposed rules to update the EHR Incentive Program participation and technology certification requirements for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review. OIRA review is one of the final steps in the federal rulemaking process prior to submission to the Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) Office of the Federal Register (OFR). Public stakeholders will be able to access the text of these two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) for the first time when they are placed on the OFR’s Public Inspection Desk. So, while we know that public release of the NPRMs is imminent (OIRA review could last up to 90 days – usually closer to a month or two), the only information we have about the content at the moment is included in the rough descriptions on OIRA’s website.

The description for CMS’ NRPM, “Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs–Stage 3” (RIN: 0938-AS26), indicates that it will propose changes to “the reporting period, timelines, and structure of the program, including providing a single definition of meaningful use.” It goes on to say that “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.” Hopefully, this means physician participants will be rewarded with a new, much-needed infusion of flexibility this rulemaking cycle.

The description for ONC’s NPRM, “2015 Edition Health Information Technology (Health IT) Certification Criteria, Base Electronic Health Record (EHR) Definition, and ONC Health IT Certification Program Modifications” (RIN 0991-AB93), indicates that, beyond the normal coverage of ONC’s certification criteria rulemakings, it also “proposes a new 2015 Edition Base EHR definition and proposes to modify the ONC Health IT Certification Program to make it more broadly applicable to other types of health IT health care settings and programs that may leverage the ONC Health IT Certification Program.” Some of the proposals from last year’s “2015 Edition EHR Certification Criteria” NPRM—which later evolved into the “2014 Edition Release 2” final rule—indicated the agency’s ambition (despite the lack of an apparent need) to expand the certification program beyond Meaningful Use (MU) applications. Then, there were provisions in a 2014 CMS payment rule that called for certified products in long-term, post-acute care settings. The additional ONC proposals would presumably address the new non-MU certification need in LTPAC settings—or, it could even be more widely applicable. If the latter, the agency would need to be careful about generating undue confusion in a market that needs more MU-ready software.

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Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare
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