CMS Clarifies EHR Reporting Period for Stage 1 and Stage 2; Expect Clarification on Public Health Measure Shortly

As we have reported, last week CMS released the Meaningful Use Modifications and Stage 3 Meaningful Use final rule. There were two outstanding issues when we reported on the final rule last week: the reporting period timeline and public health measure reporting.

Reporting Period
ASCRS•ASOA contacted CMS requesting a clarification on the options for Meaningful Use reporting periods in 2015. CMS has confirmed to ASCRS•ASOA that providers have the option to report for any continuous 90-day period up to a reporting period of 365 days in a calendar year. Therefore, a 120-day period, for example, is an acceptable EHR reporting period in 2015.

Public Health Measure
Previously, in 2015 Meaningful Use, the public health measures were menu measures, so providers could choose not to report them. However, under the new Modifications Rule, providers are required to report the public health measures, which means they must actively engage with an immunization agency, public health agency, and clinical data registry or qualify for exclusions for each measure to successfully attest to Meaningful Use. Since there is an ophthalmic clinical data registry that providers could have engaged with in 2015 up until the last quarter, our members will not be able to claim an exclusion for this measure if they choose to report a 90-day period prior to September. Currently, the IRIS data registry is closed for the remainder of 2015, and therefore, if providers choose to report for the last 90-days then they can claim an exclusion for this measure, “operates in a jurisdiction for which no specialized registry is capable of accepting electronic registry transactions in the specific standards required to meet the CEHRT definition at the start of the EHR reporting period.”

We think that this is a new, unfair requirement for providers. Therefore, we have reached out to CMS and explained this is an unrealistic new requirement that must be achieved in a short time period. We informed CMS that there is not time now for providers to enter into contracts with clinical data registries, and reiterated this was not an original Stage 2 requirement. CMS has assured us they did not intend to create additional measures that members had to meet within this Modifications Rule. In fact, the intent was to make it easier for providers to achieve. We are still in conversations with CMS regarding how to provide a work-around for our members, and CMS is developing further guidance on this issue. As soon as we have additional information, it will be posted to the listserv, and we will issue an alert. 

We have developed an updated guide for Meaningful Use 2015–2017 and currently developing one for Stage 3 Meaningful Use that will be featured in the Washington Watch and posted on the ASCRS website soon.

See more details on the EHR Modifications Rule on ASCRS’ website.  If you have any questions, please contact Ashley McGlone at 703-591-2220.