CMS Proposes Shortening EHR Reporting Period to 90 Days

After calls for changes and more flexibility from physician groups, CMS announced it intends to modify requirements to meet meaningful use in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs.

After calls for changes and more flexibility from physician groups, CMS announced Thursday that it intends to modify requirements to meet meaningful use in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs.

Among the changes, which will take effect in 2015, is the proposal to shorten the EHR reporting period to 90 days.

“These intended changes would help to reduce the reporting burden on providers, while supporting the long term goals of the program,” Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, deputy administrator for innovation and quality and chief medical officer for CMS wrote in a blog post.

Other proposals being considered are to realign hospital EHR reporting periods to the calendar year, which will allow them to better align with other CMS quality programs, and to modify other aspects of the program to match long-term goals, reduce complexity, and lessen providers’ reporting burdens.

“The new rule, expected this spring, would be intended to be responsive to provider concerns about software implementation, information exchange readiness, and other related concerns in 2015,” Dr Conway wrote.

The American Medical Association (AMA), which has vocally petitioned CMS to provide more flexibility in the meaningful use program, applauded the announcement.

“We hope the new rule will be issued expediently to provide the flexibility needed to allow more physicians to successfully participate in the Meaningful Use program and better align Meaningful Use with other quality reporting programs such as the Physician Quality Reporting System and the Value-base Modifier,” Steven J. Stack, MD, president-elect of the AMA said in a statement.

In October, the AMA sent a blueprint for the future of the meaningful use program, which not only included a more flexible approach for meeting meaningful use, but also EHR functionality recommendations.

“We hope [the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology] will address problems with interoperability and support technologies that provide the ability for information to be exchanged, incorporated and presented to a physician in a contextual and meaningful manner,” Dr Stack said.

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) was also pleased with CMS’ decision to bring more flexibility to the meaningful use program.

“Our members have been steadfast advocates for the value of a 90-day reporting period to foster interoperability and improve care coordination through broad program participation and EHR optimization,” CHIME President and Chief Executive Officer Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHIO, said in a statement.