Health IT

CMS seeks to shorten 2016 Meaningful Use reporting period

This would bring the EHR incentive program more in line with proposed rules for implementing MACRA, to be phased in starting next year.

calendar dates

Physicians and hospitals seem to be getting their wish after all for a 90-day reporting period in the Meaningful Use health IT incentive program.

Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed shortening the Meaningful Use reporting requirements from a full year to a single quarter, at least for 2016. This would bring the electronic health records program in line with proposed rules for implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 that will be phased in starting next year.

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The MACRA plan is intended to reduce regulatory headaches and put more focus on patient outcomes, according to CMS.

“[W]e propose taking a similar step for hospitals and critical access hospitals participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. These changes include a proposal for clinicians, hospitals, and critical access hospitals to use a 90-day EHR reporting period in 2016 – down from a full calendar year for returning participants. This increases flexibility and lowers the reporting burden for hospital providers,” the Medicare agency said Wednesday.

The CMS plan is part of its annual review of the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System. This proposal would raise Medicare hospital outpatient payments by about 1.6 percent and ASC payments by 1.2 in 2017.

CMS also proposed eliminating pain management from patient survey questions under the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program in an effort to cut overprescribing of opioids and other pain medications.

“CMS continues to believe that pain control is an appropriate part of routine patient care that hospitals should manage and is an important concern for patients, their families, and their caregivers.  Thus, CMS is also currently developing and field testing alternative questions related to provider communications and pain to include in the program in future years,” the agency said.

Photo: Flickr user DafneCholet