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March 27, 2018

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Hospitals Gain Another Year to Adopt Latest EHR Technology

August 31, 2017:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will allow hospitals to continue to use certified EHR technology from either the 2014 or 2015 editions or both for the 2018 reporting period rather than having to fully transition to 2015-certified technology. Facilities are getting this reprieve because they expressed some difficulty transitioning fully to EHR technology certified under the 2015 edition of certification criteria.

CMS noted this extension in its final rule for the inpatient and long-term acute care hospital prospective payment systems released in August. The 2018 reporting period begins October 1, 2017, and runs through September 30, 2018. EHR technology must meet 49 criteria in seven categories under the 2014 edition of the requirements for certification, whereas they must meet 60 criteria in eight categories to be certified under the 2015 edition. As of mid-August, 3,754 technologies were certified under 2014, but only 104 had gained 2015 certification.

In the rule, CMS also finalized its requirement that participants in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs report meaningful use of certified EHR technology for a minimum of 90 continuous days during the calendar year rather than the full year.

The agency also has added an exception to the Medicare payment adjustments under the EHR Incentive Programs to include eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals, and critical access hospitals that show that they could not demonstrate meaningful use of EHR because its technology had been decertified under the Office of National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology. Also qualifying for an exception to the 2017 and 2018 payment adjustments are EPs based in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). An EP is considered ASC-based if at least three-quarters of his or her covered professional services are reported using place-of-service code 24 (Ambulatory surgical centers).


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