CMS is renaming the EHR Incentive Programs to the Promoting Interoperability (PI) Programs to continue the agency’s focus on improving patients’ access to health information and reducing the time and cost required of providers to comply with the programs’ requirements. CMS is also in the process of finalizing updates to the programs through rulemaking. For more information, visit the landing page where CMS will publish updates and additional resources as soon as they are available.
In October 2015, CMS released a final rule that modified the requirements for participation in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs for years 2015 through 2017 as well as in 2018 and beyond. This page provides information on requirements for 2016.
Here’s what you need to know about meeting EHR Incentive Programs requirements in 2016.
Reference the landing page table to see the stage of the EHR Incentive Programs that providers are scheduled to demonstrate by start year.
For information on registration and attestation, visit the Registration and Attestation webpage.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has extended the attestation deadline for providers participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program to Monday, March 13, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Objectives and Measures
- All providers are required to attest to a single set of objectives and measures.
- For eligible professionals (EPs), there are 10 objectives, and for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs), there are 9 objectives.
- View the 2016 Specification Sheets for EPs (PDF) and hospitals and CAHs (PDF).
- In 2016, all providers must attest to objectives and measures using EHR technology certified to the 2014 Edition. If it is available, providers may also attest using EHR technology certified to the 2015 Edition, or a combination of the two.
Changes to Specific Objectives
- Secure Electronic Messaging (EPs only) – This objective has a phased approach for its measure’s threshold. For 2016, an EP must send a secure message (PDF)using their CEHRT's electronic messaging function to at least one patient (or the patient-authorized representative) the EP sees during the EHR reporting period, or must respond to a secure message that the patient (or the patient-authorized representative) has sent during the EHR reporting period.
- Public Health Reporting – In 2016, all EPs (PDF) must meet two measures, and eligible hospitals and CAHs (PDF)must meet three measures or claim alternate exclusions.
- EPs (PDF), eligible hospitals and CAHs (PDF)that were scheduled to be in Stage 1 in 2016 may claim an alternate exclusion for Objective 3: Computerized Provider Order Entry, Measures 2 and 3 (lab and radiology orders), or choose the modified Stage 2 objective and measures.
- Eligible hospitals and CAHs that were scheduled to be in Stage 1 in 2016, or were scheduled to demonstrate Stage 2 but did not intend to select the Stage 2 electronic prescribing (eRx) objective, may claim an alternate exclusion for Objective 4: eRx or choose the modified Stage 2 objective.
- Providers scheduled to be in Stage 1 and Stage 2 in 2016 may claim an alternate exclusion for the Public Health Reporting measure(s) that might require acquisition of additional technologies that they did not previously have or did not previously intend to include in their activities for meaningful use. EPs may claim an alternate exclusion for measure 2 (syndromic surveillance) and measure 3 (specialized registry reporting). Eligible hospitals may claim an alternate exclusion for measure 3 (specialized registry reporting).
- Review this fact sheet (PDF)for an overview and more details about alternate exclusions for certain objectives and measures in 2016.
EHR Reporting Period
- For all returning participants, the EHR reporting period will be a minimum of any continuous 90-day period between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.
- For EPs, eligible hospitals, and CAHs that have not successfully demonstrated meaningful use in a prior year, the EHR reporting period is any continuous 90-day period between January 1 and December 31, 2016.
- For all EPs, eligible hospitals, and CAHs that choose to report CQMs by attestation in 2016, the reporting period will be 90-days.
Medicare Attestation Worksheets for 2016
The Medicare Attestation Worksheets allow providers to log their meaningful use measures on a document to use as a reference when attesting for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program in CMS’ Registration and Attestation system. Access the 2016 EP Attestation Worksheet here (PDF) and Eligible Hospital and CAH Attestation Worksheet here (PDF).
Requirements for EHR Incentive Programs in 2016 Resources
- Eligible Professionals: What You Need to Know for 2016 (PDF)
- Eligible Hospitals and CAHs: What You Need to Know for 2016 (PDF)
- Health Information Exchange Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Broadband Access Exclusions Tip Sheet (PDF)
- Security Risk Analysis Tip Sheet (PDF)
- Patient Electronic Access Tip Sheet (PDF)
- Eligible Professionals: Public Health Reporting in 2016 (PDF)
- Eligible Hospitals: Public Health Reporting in 2016 (PDF)
- Guide for Eligible Professionals Practicing in Multiple Locations (PDF)