Proposed Meaningful Use Stage 3: Should docs be worried?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Troubled DoctorThe Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the proposed rule for Stage 3 of Meaningful Use under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

The proposed language for the Meaningful Use Stage 3 (MU3) rule was published in late March with some very notable differences. Before we discuss the changes, we'd like to commend the committee that pulled this rule together as they have taken provider feedback into account and have proposed a more streamlined version for Stage 3. For example:

  • The committee is working to identify the list of CQMs for MU3 that align with other federal quality initiatives such as the Physician Quality Report System (PQRS).
  • All eligible professionals will attest to MU3 in 2018 regardless as to whether this is their second or fifth year. These two changes will greatly reduce the reporting burden on practices trying to manage multiple providers in various stages of MU with different quality metrics.
  • CMS recognizes the challenging and time-consuming nature of upgrading software and is proposes that while MU3 will take effect in 2017, providers will not be required to attest to those metrics until 2018 (2017 will be an optional year).

While these changes are welcome, many professionals are concerned about the changes to the metrics themselves. In MU3, there are no core/menu objectives as they've been replaced by eight (8) objectives that EPs will be required to meet to fully attest. Do not let this fool you into thinking MU got easier as many of these newly proposed objectives include multiple components and, in many cases, their thresholds increase.

Providers wanting to provide input on these measures should pay particular attention to Objectives 6, 7 and 8 as that's where the challenges exist. We would encourage providers to review this information and submit public comments to CMS, as they do seriously consider your feedback. The Stage 3 Proposed Rule is located in the March 30th, 2015, edition of the Federal Register: Stage 3 NPRM and public comments can be submitted here by clicking the green "Submit a Formal Comment" button at the top. All comments must be received by May 29, 2015, by 11:59 PM EST. 

Writer: Allison Bryan-Jungels, 765-496-9791,

Writer: Natalie Stewart, 765-496-1265,

Tags: Quality Services

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