Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule Released: Quick Review

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the final rule yesterday detailing the Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements. The rule spans 672 pages, and in large part leaves the proposed rules released earlier this year intact with a few exceptions. The rule delays the Stage 2 requirements to 2014, giving providers more time to meet the new criteria.

Reactions to the rule have been generally positive:

  • The College of Healthcare Information Executives (CHIME), was pleased that CMS added more measures to the menu set and implemented a 90-day EHR reporting period for 2014.
  • The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) praised the decision to maintain patient engagement requirements.
  • While the American Hospital Association (AHA) said the final rule makes the path toward IT adoption for hospitals “more challenging.”

For more information on the above reactions, visit AHIMA, MGMA Welcome Stage 2 Rule; AHA Airs Concerns via Modern Healthcare.

One threshold which was hotly debated and commented on was the threshold for patient engagement and electronic exchange summary of care documents. The final rule reduced this threshold from 10 percent to 5 percent. The original threshold was seen as too burdensome on providers and out of their control, especially for elderly patient bases that are considered less likely to connect to a patient portal.

SMTP is the new required transport standard for Stage 2. SMTP secures healthcare patient information by using secure MIME and certificates as defined by the Direct Project. In a change from the proposed rules, content included in the transfer can be the new Consolidated CDA, or the Stage 1 standards of CCD and CCR.

For more information on transport, visit Dr. John Halamka’s blog.

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) also released the certification criteria to support the changes in the program, weighing in at 474 pages. The name of the permanent certification program has been changed to “ONC HIT Certification Program.”

The ONC has already begun work on Stage 3 of Meaningful Use, which will be implemented in 2016 at the earliest.

More conversations will unfold on the Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule as well as more insights. Stay tuned.

What are your thoughts on the Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule? Please share in the comments section below.

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Rob Brull

Rob Brull is the product manager for Corepoint Health. He has worked with software products for over 15 years as both a product manager and sales engineer. Past companies and organizations include Tyco Electronics, Deloitte Consulting, and various distributors of software monitoring and control products. His main focus is to ensure his solutions enable customers to simplify healthcare integration complexities with user-friendly yet powerful software capabilities. This includes meeting applicable Meaningful Use requirements as well as fully supporting related healthcare standards such as CCD, CCR, and greenCDA. Rob is also a Certified HL7 CDA Specialist.