Meaningful Use Stage 2 Deadline Delayed

In response to mounting pressure from Congress and trade groups, CMS has announced that it will delay the Meaningful Use Stage 2 deadline by one year. As a result, Stage 2 will be extended through 2016. Eligible professionals who have completed two years of Stage 2 by 2016 can attest to Stage 3 beginning in 2017. CMS plans to release proposed Stage 3 rules in 2014.

CMS has not yet released rules that explain how the Stage 2 delay works. However, this delay presents a variety of opportunities for providers. Eligible professionals may wish to use the extended timeline to explore alternative EHR providers. Additionally, the extended timeline may give eligible professionals the chance to decide on alternate menu objectives. However, eligible professionals who are already ready to attest to Stage 2 should stay on track with their current plans. This will enable them to attest to Stage 3 as early as possible.

© 2013 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, contact us

Meaningful Use Stage 2: Can Physicians Cope With CMS’S Requirements?

2014 is a crucial year for physicians in terms of attesting to Meaningful Use (MU). If physicians do not attest to MU Stage 2 in 2014, they will be subject to payment reductions by CMS. Physicians, vendors, and commentators have expressed concern over a variety of the MU Stage 2 requirements. To meet the MU Stage 2 requirements, physicians must meet 17 core objectives and three out of six “menu” objectives.

Some of these objectives are likely to present significant challenges for physicians. Notably, commentators have expressed concern that the MU Stage 2 requirements involving transitions to other providers will be problematic. Additionally, patient engagement requirements will require physicians to reach out to their patients to take advantage of the new technology. In doing so, physicians must be careful to comply with existing regulations, especially on the issue of patient privacy.

© 2013 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, contact us

Republican Senators Call for One-year Meaningful Use Extension

The dizzying pace of changes in healthcare law over the past several years has led some Republican senators to call for an extension of the Meaningful Use Stage 2 deadlines. Under the current timetable, many physicians and hospitals will be required to invest extensively in new technology by the end of 2014. The senators are calling for a one-year extension, arguing that small and rural providers will be hurt by the timeline. They also argue that the current transition timeline could be disorderly and that it might limit buy-in by healthcare providers.

© 2013 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, contact info@pvwlaw.com

Meaningful Use Stage 2 – Electronic Health Records and HIPAA

To satisfy the new Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements, providers must furnish patients with electronic copies of their health information upon request.  Providers should ensure that their systems are able to timely meet these requests and to satisfy the requirements of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  The Meaningful Use Stage 2 standard requires that more than 50 percent of patients who request electronic copies of their health information must be provided that information within three business days.

When providing electronic copies of health information, providers should keep in mind that electronic data may be furnished in any format.  For example, information could be provided via a patient portal, CD, USB drive, or the like.  Providers should update their HIPAA compliance plans to include provisions relating to electronic media accordingly.  As under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, providers may only charge a reasonable, cost-based fee for a copy of the information.  It is important to remember that providers may withhold certain types of information from a patient’s electronic copies of health information.  Since the types of health information that can be withheld from patients or third parties is subject to a higher confidentiality standard, providers also need to review their HIPAA compliance plans to ensure that appropriate protocols for electronic disclosure are in place.

© 2012 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, contact info@pvwlaw.com

Meaningful Use Stage 2—New Core Objectives

Now that the Stage 2 meaningful use standards are available, health care providers should start planning to implement attestation requirements.  Providers cannot begin to attest until 2014.  However, providers should consider two factors that indicate the need to plan.  First, the requirements for both stages of attestation are now more rigorous than before, and providers will no longer be able to count exclusions toward their non-core objectives.  Second, the number of core objectives that providers must meet has significantly increased.

In particular, providers should plan to meet one of two new Stage 2 core objectives.  Eligible physicians must use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information.  Eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must use automatic medication tracking from order to administration using assistive technologies and an electronic medication administration record.  Providers should also keep in mind that many of the objectives that carry over from Stage 1 to Stage 2 have significantly higher thresholds.  To meet these thresholds, providers should consider the use of external audits and implementation planning to meet Stage 2 requirements in 2014.

© 2012 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, contact info@pvwlaw.com

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Rule Released

CMS released the final requirements for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program on August 23, 2012. The meaningful use program’s goal is to promote health care providers’ implementation of electronic health records.

The rules released by CMS indicate that Stage 2 will begin as early as 2014. No providers will be required to comply with Stage 2 requirements prior to 2014. The rules also set forth the criteria for the certification of EHR technology, which will allow eligible professionals and hospitals to ensure that the systems they implement and/or use will work, help them to meaningfully use health information technology, and enable them to earn federal incentive payments.

CMS also stated that it will allow the current “2011 Edition Certified EHR Technology” to be used until 2014.

To view the final rule in rule, click here: http://content.hcpro.com/pdf/content/283723.pdf.

© 2012 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

For more information, contact info@pvwlaw.com