CMS Final Rule extends Stage 2; Delays requirements

CMS on Friday announced in a final rule that it will delay some requirements of its meaningful use program, allowing providers to continue to receive incentive payments if they haven't yet adopted electronic health records (EHR) software that was certified under the 2014 criteria. 

According to the announcement, providers will not be penalized for failing to progress to Stage 2. Participants will be permitted the continued use of EHR systems certified under 2011 criteria, or some combination of 2011 and 2014 certified systems until 2015. The announcement also indicated the rollout of Stage 3 will be delayed from January 1, 2016 until January 1, 2017, so that participants can meet Stage 2 requirements and begin working on Stage 3. 

“We listened to stakeholder feedback and provided CEHRT flexibility for 2014 to help ensure providers can continue to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs forward,” said Marilyn Tavenner, CMS administrator, in the announcement. “We were excited to see that there is overwhelming support for this change.”