Stage 2 of the electronic health record incentive programs: Building from Stage 1
By David Nilasena, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Southwest Region
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently published the final rule for Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record incentive programs. The rule provides new criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet to participate successfully in the incentive programs.
Stage 2 core and menu objectives
Stage 1 established a core and menu structure for objectives that providers had to achieve in order to demonstrate meaningful use. Stage 2 retains that core and menu structure for meaningful use objectives. In Stage 2:
- Eligible professionals will be required to meet 17 core objectives, as well as three menu objectives (which they select from a list of six), for a total of 20 objectives.
- Eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must meet 16 core objectives, as well as three menu objectives (which they select from a list of six), for a total of 19 objectives.
Changes to Stage 2 meaningful use objectives
Most of the Stage 1 objectives are now core objectives under the Stage 2 criteria. For many of those Stage 2 objectives, the threshold that providers must meet to achieve them has been raised. CMS expects that providers who reach Stage 2 in the incentive programs will be able to demonstrate meaningful use of their certified electronic health record technology for an even larger portion of their patient populations.
Some new objectives were also introduced for Stage 2, and most of those were introduced as menu objectives. As with Stage 1, many of the Stage 2 objectives have exclusions that allow providers to achieve meaningful use without having to meet objectives outside their normal scope of clinical practice.
Providers can visit the CMS website and download comparison tables for the Stage 1 and Stage 2 core and menu objectives and measures: www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/ EHRIncentivePrograms/Stage_2.html.
For more information on the CMS EHR incentive programs, please visit www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/.