New Rule Swaps Meaningful Use For “Promoting Interoperability”

New Rule Swaps Meaningful Use For “Promoting Interoperability”

2 Big Proposed Meaningful Use Changes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule on April 24, 2018, focused on increasing interoperability and empowering patients and their providers. Under the proposed rule, CMS plans to increase price transparency for consumers and physicians alike, as well as increase interoperability and reduce burdens, specifically but not exclusively for hospitals.

Under the proposed rule, there are two notable changes:

  1. The Meaningful Use (MU) program is slated to change its name to “Promoting Interoperability” – making MU an obsolete term
  2. Electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) are expected to be more consolidated and less burdensome

What Is Promoting Interoperability?

While the proposal suggests changing the name Meaningful Use, the MU program itself is expected to remain active – except it will now be called “Promoting Interoperability.” The idea behind this change is straightforward; CMS is overhauling the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program to focus heavily on interoperability. Also under the proposal, CMS calls for improved flexibility, reduced burdens and a greater emphasis on the electronic exchange of information.

CMS is hoping to achieve a new scoring methodology to reflect the new focus of “Promoting Interoperability” as well as introduce new measures that align closely with the treatment of opioid and substance disorders. While new measures are likely to be added, the proposal calls to remove measures that do not emphasize the electronic exchange of information and interoperability.

Regardless the name, 2015 Edition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) is required for the 2019 calendar year (CY) of the program and a minimum of any continuous 90-day reporting period is expected.

Streamlined eCQMs

For eligible hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), beginning in CY 2019 the reporting period for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program and eCQMs, will no longer need to be reported twice, instead both would be reported as one. Under the single submission, CAHs and eligible hospitals can select their calendar quarter of data for CY 2019 and at least four eCQMs in the Hospital IQR Program measure set. February 29, 2020 is the proposed deadline for CY 2019 reporting submission. The proposal also calls to remove 8 of the 16 eCQMs, with the potential of eCQMS being added, for the 2020 reporting period in effort to reduce reporting burdens as well as align closely with the Hospital IQR Program. As with “Promoting Interoperability,” 2015 Edition CEHRT for the 2019 CY is required.

The proposed rule (CMS-1694-P) and Request for Information (RFI) is open until June 25, 2018. Don’t shy away from submitting to the RFI – CMS strongly encourages feedback and suggestions and every submission is read. Be sure you include replacement ideas on areas you do not agree with and make note of the ones you support – this will only help CMS shape the language for the final rule.

Do you have questions about the proposed rule? We are here to help – contact us here and we will be in touch!

Author: Alex Taylor, Marketing Manager, Health Insights

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