Thank you for your feedback on Stage 3 of the EHR Incentive Programs

By Kate Goodrich, Director Center for Clinical Standards and Quality

As we approach the end of the public comment period for certain provisions of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs final rule, we want to provide a brief update on the comment process.

As you know, the rule established new criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to participate successfully in the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015 through 2017 and Stage 3 in 2018 and beyond.

The 60-day comment period was meant to generate feedback on Stage 3 of the EHR Incentive Programs in the future, and how the program will be affected by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which establishes the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

First, we want to thank the many individuals and organizations that provided feedback. To date, we have received more than 500 comments on a rule we expect will have a significant effect not only on how U.S. health care providers do their jobs, but—more importantly—on the quality of health care across the country. It’s an important task, and we appreciate the time you have spent highlighting the areas that concern you the most.

We’ve heard you. And we will continue to consider carefully what everyone has to say until the final comment is submitted at the end of the comment period. Of the comments we have received, many physician practices and health care provider organizations have emphasized that the Meaningful Use Programs should provide more flexibility and address interoperability challenges.

Above all, we heard you when you said EHRs shouldn’t be a challenge for health care providers to overcome, but rather a helpful tool to improve care for patients.

Thank you again for helping us to achieve our shared goal of delivering better care, smarter spending, and healthier people through EHRs. We look forward to reviewing the comments and continuing to work together to improve health care through health information technology. The comments may inform the development of the proposed rule for MACRA that we expect to release in the spring and will allow for additional opportunity to provide comments that will help to continue to shape the program.

If you have any questions about the current requirements in the final rule, please visit our CMS EHR Incentive Programs website.

 

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