Home > EHR, meaningful use, Medicare > CMS Proposes Meaningful Use Changes in CY 2017 HOPPS Proposed Rule

CMS Proposes Meaningful Use Changes in CY 2017 HOPPS Proposed Rule

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will publish its Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) proposed rule for calendar year (CY) 2017 on July 14, 2016. In the meantime, the unpublished version is available to download as a PDF file from the online Federal Register public inspection desk.

The HOPPS proposed rule included several proposals for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program (or “Meaningful Use”), most of which focus on the hospital/CAH version of the program. These include various favorable tweaks to the thresholds of MU objectives/measures, as well as elimination of the CDS and CPOE objectives (functionality certified to the CDS and CPOE health IT certification criteria would still be required of “certified EHR technology” as before).

CMS proposed several revisions applicable to the physician version of the program as well….

The most important proposed change is a 90-day EHR reporting period in CY 2016 (instead of the full CY) and corresponding reduction in the eCQM reporting timeframe. If finalized, this would be the third year in a row CMS has moved to a 90-day reporting period for the EHR Incentive Program.

CMS also proposed a new significant hardship exception category to allow physicians participating in the Advancing Care Information (ACI) measures of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in CY 2017, who did not participate in previous years of MU, to avoid MU penalties in CY 2018 by applying for a hardship exception by October 1, 2017.  This is limited to first year participants because prior MUsers would already avoid the 2018 payment adjustments by virtue of their 2016 MU participation. In other words, this proposed hardship exception allows ACI participation in CY 2017 to substitute for first-year MU participation in order to avoid the CY 2018 MU penalties.  The existing MU significant hardship exception options would remain the same for avoiding 2018 penalties, so nearly all ACR members would not need/use the proposed new option.

CMS also proposed a clarification to resolve a previous misunderstanding regarding numerator actions outside of reporting periods. Specifically, CMS clarified that unless otherwise specified, actions included in the numerators of measures must occur within the reporting period if that period is a full CY; or if it is less than a full CY, within the CY in which the reporting period occurs.  The misunderstanding was apparently caused by misleading wording in a CMS FAQ.

Looking ahead beyond this HOPPS proposed rule, CMS is expected to publicly release the CY 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule in the near future—perhaps as early as this afternoon (July 7).

Update:  CMS’ Medicare Physician Fee Schedule proposed rule was indeed released today and is scheduled for formal publication in the Federal Register on July 15, 2016.

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Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

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