EHR Meaningful Use Update

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the federal government has dedicated billions of dollars to incentivize the adoption of healthcare information technology nationwide. A significant portion of those funds is directed

toward private physicians, and substantial incentive payments are available to individual physicians if they are willing to demonstrate the ‘Meaningful Use’ of certified EHR technologies in their daily practice of medicine. Previous newsletters have dis-cussed the intent and requirements for demonstrating meaningful use in your practice. This update will communicate important changes to the timing of Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, and summarize what these changes mean for you and your practice.

Summary of Timing Changes 

  • The changes are being proposed because the final rule for Stage 2 Meaningful Use Requirements will be published too close to Federal FY 2012 for early adopters to comply.
  • If an early adopter (those EP’s and hospitals that first attest to Meaningful Use in 2011) are required to meet Stage 2 requirements in FY 2013, they will only have months to make the necessary system and reporting changes.
  • The proposed rule change would allow an extra year at Stage 1 for early adopters.
  • This means that early adopters will have 3 years at Stage 1 requirements, including their first attestation year, and will have until FY or CY 2014 to comply with Stage 2 requirements.

Summary of Measure Changes 

  • Measures unchanged from Stage 1
    • 4 measures for both hospitals and providers
  • Measures unchanged from Stage 1, except that in Stage 2 they are no longer optional.
    • 4 measures for both hospitals and providers
  • Measures with higher thresholds or wider scopes in Stage 2 than in Stage 1.
    • 13 measures for hospitals
    • 15 measures for providers
  • New measures Unique to Stage 2.
    • 10 measures for hospitals
    • 9 measures for providers


If you can attest for MU in 2011, you should do it. Under the new timing, you would get 3 of your 4 payments by just meeting Stage 1 criteria, rather than having to meet Stage 2 criteria for the Year 3 payment. You also get more time to adapt to Stage 1 Meaningful Use and prepare for Stage 2 before you have to prove stage 2.

Stage 2 measures have been added, and some have been strengthened, meaning higher thresholds for some measures (documenting smoking status, electronic prescriptions, vital signs, problem lists, to name a few). Bottom line is that Stage 2 will be harder to meet than previously expected.

Practices that are not in the queue now will not be ready to attest for MU in 2011, so the timing change mainly affects those already being implemented, but the increased requirements for Stage 2 will affect everyone.

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