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Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs

The Stage 1 final rule set the foundation for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs by establishing requirements for the electronic capture of clinical data, including providing patients with electronic copies of health information.
The Stage 2 final rule expanded upon the Stage 1 criteria with a focus on ensuring that the meaningful use of EHRs supported the aims and priorities of the National Quality Strategy.  Stage 2 criteria encouraged the use of health IT for continuous quality improvement at the point of care and the exchange of information in the most structured format possible.

Stay up to date on the latest EHR news and updates by following us on Twitter and by subscribing to the EHR Listserv.

Announcements

  • CMS is extending the application deadline for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program hardship exception process that reduces burden on clinicians, hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs). The new deadline for Eligible Professionals, Eligible Hospitals & CAHs is July 1, 2016. CMS is extending the deadline so providers have sufficient time to submit their applications to avoid the 2017 payment adjustment. For more information, including the applications, please click here.
  • CMS recently participated in the 2016 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas from February 29-March 4, 2016. Review the CMS education session presentations here on the EHR Events page.
  • CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt and HHS Acting Assistant Secretary Karen DeSalvo provide expanded insight into the future of Meaningful Use on The CMS Blog.
  • CMS launched important changes to the Medicare EHR Incentive Program hardship exception process that will reduce burden on clinicians, hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs). These changes are a result of the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act (PAMPA), Pub. L. No. 114-115 legislation and our ongoing efforts to improve the program. Review the new, streamlined applications and instructions  for a hardship exception from the EHR Incentive Program 2017 payment adjustments.
  • All Medicaid eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs should refer to their State Medicaid offices for information on attestation timeframes for the 2015 program year.

Dates to Remember

2017 Eligible Professional and Eligible Hospital Hardship Application Submission Period January 1, 2016 - July 1, 2016
2015 CAH Hardship Application Submission Period January 1, 2016 - July 1, 2016

 

About the EHR Incentive Program

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (Pub.L. 111–5) was enacted on February 17, 2009. Title IV of Division B of ARRA amends Titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act (the Act) by establishing incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs), and Medicare Advantage Organizations to promote the adoption and meaningful use of interoperable health information technology (HIT) and qualified electronic health records (EHRs). These incentive payments are part of a broader effort under the HITECH Act to accelerate the adoption of HIT and utilization of qualified EHRs.

Beginning in 2011, the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs were established to encourage eligible professionals and eligible hospitals to adopt, implement, upgrade (AIU), and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

  • Stage 1 set the foundation for the EHR Incentive Programs by establishing requirements for the electronic capture of clinical data, including providing patients with electronic copies of health information.
  • Stage 2 expanded upon the Stage 1 criteria with a focus on ensuring that the meaningful use of EHRs supported the aims and priorities of the National Quality Strategy.  Stage 2 criteria encouraged the use of health IT for continuous quality improvement at the point of care and the exchange of information in the most structured format possible.
  • In October 2015, CMS released a final rule that specifies criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and CAHs must meet in order to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015 through 2017 (Modified Stage 2) and in Stage 3 in 2017 and beyond.

EHR Incentive Program Resources

Use the navigation bar on the left side of the page to learn more about the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015-2017, including program requirements for specific years, registration and attestation information, payment adjustment & hardship exceptions, clinical quality measures and more.

For more information about Stage 1 and Stage 2, see the Requirements for Previous Years.  

Stay up to date on the latest EHR news and updates by following us on Twitter and by subscribing to the EHR Listserv.

How to Participate in the EHR Incentive Programs
Are you ready to register and/or attest? Visit the Registration and Attestation page and review these checklists to help you prepare to participate.

Table: Stage of Meaningful Use Criteria by First Year

First Year Demonstrating Meaningful Use

Stage of Meaningful Use

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 and Future Years

2011

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2 or Stage 3

 

Stage 3

Stage 3

2012

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2 or Stage 3

 

Stage 3

Stage 3

2013

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2 or Stage 3

 

Stage 3

Stage 3

2014

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2 or Stage 3

 

Stage 3

Stage 3

2015

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2 or Stage 3

 

Stage 3

Stage 3

2016

NA

Modified Stage 2

Modified Stage 2 or Stage 3

 

Stage 3

Stage 3

2017

NA

NA

Modified Stage 2 or Stage 3

 

Stage 3

Stage 3

2018

NA

NA

NA

 

Stage 3

Stage 3

2019 and Future Years

NA

NA

NA

NA

Stage 3