CMS Provides Hospitals with Flexibility on Use of 2015 Edition CEHRT in 2018

On Wednesday, August 2, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its Final Rule for the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System.

HIMSS is still doing a full review of the rule, but CMS did address one significant health IT-related issue. CMS is finalizing the modification to the electronic health record (EHR) reporting periods for new and returning participants attesting to the agency or their state Medicaid agency from the full year to a minimum of any continuous 90-day period during the calendar year. The agency is also implementing flexibility for hospital reporting using the 2015 Edition of certified EHR technology (CEHRT) in 2018. For electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) and Meaningful Use related reporting in the calendar year (CY) 2018 reporting period, hospitals will be able to use: the 2014 Edition of CERHT; the 2015 Edition of CEHRT; or, a combination of both the 2014 and 2015 Editions of CEHRT.

In providing flexibility for 2018, CMS does use the Final Rule to emphasize the many benefits associated with upgrading to EHR technology certified to the 2015 Edition.

In an April 2017 letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Thomas Price, MD, HIMSS recommended moving the start date for the requirements around using the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria to July 1, 2018, rather than January 1, 2018, to increase the likelihood that providers, vendors, and consultants have the necessary time to ensure products complete the certification process, are fully tested and implemented, and staff training and workflow adjustments are achieved to ensure safe, effective and efficient implementation and use of the 2015 Edition.

Further information about the Final Rule will be available in the coming days.