The CMS will once again offer hospitals a 90-day electronic health record reporting deadline as they continue to struggle to adopt meaningful-use requirements.
The new deadline for hospitals, critical-access hospitals, physicians and other eligible professionals is now between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 under the federal EHR Incentive Program.
The policy shortens the reporting deadline from a continuous 365-day period to a continuous 90-day period. The CMS issued a 90-day reporting period in 2015 as well.
The concession was part of the proposed rule for the 2017 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System released Wednesday.
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives lauded the move. In a joint statement, Chairman Marc Probst and CEO Russell Branzell said, “Shortening the reporting period to 90 days from the current 365 days will allow hospitals and health systems to continue making progress in adopting technology systems that support new payment and care delivery models.”
The American Hospital Association also supported the policy.
In another effort to offers providers some flexibility, the CMS proposed removing clinical decision support and computerized provider order entry as ways for hospitals and critical-access hospitals to be eligible for the EHR incentive program.
All hospitals are required to be at Stage 3 of meaningful use by 2018. But the agency said hospitals that haven't achieved meaningful use could instead demonstrate Stage 2 meaningful use by Oct. 1, 2017. The CMS noted it wouldn't be “technically feasible” for those hospitals to demonstrate Stage 3 objectives.
Hospitals can still apply for so-called “hardship” exemptions in 2018.