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Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs

NOTE: The Medicare EHR Incentive Program for returning eligible professionals (EPs) ended with the 2016 reporting period. Starting in 2017, Medicare eligible clinicians will report to the Quality Payment Program. The attestation deadlines for an EHR reporting period to avoid the 2018 payment adjustment for returning EPs was March 13, 2017. First time EPs who have not demonstrated meaningful use successfully in a prior year have until October 1, 2017 to attest or apply for the one-time hardship exception if they are transitioning to MIPS in 2017. To learn more about the Quality Payment Program, visit the official website. Subscribe to the Quality Payment Program listserv for updates.

In 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) established the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs to encourage Eligible Professionals (EPs), Eligible Hospitals, and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to adopt, implement, upgrade (AIU), and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology (CEHRT).

The EHR Incentive Programs consist of three stages:

  • 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 advancing clinical processes and ensuring that the meaningful use of EHRs supported the aims and priorities of the National Quality Strategy. Stage 2 criteria encouraged the use of CEHRT 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 modified Stage 2 to ease reporting requirements and align with other quality reporting programs. The final rule also established Stage 3 in 2017 and beyond, which focuses on using CEHRT to improve health outcomes.

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

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

You can also stay up to date on the latest EHR Incentive Program news and updates by following us on Twitter and by subscribing to the EHR Listserv.


  • Now Available: CMS’ eCQM annual update for calendar year (CY) 2018 reporting. For more information, the updated measure specifications are available on the eCQI Resource Center for Eligible Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals, and Eligible Professionals and Eligible Clinicians.
  • On April 28, 2017 we published the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule, and Request for Information, which contains several changes that will directly affect the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. To access the proposed rule, please click here.

Dates to Remember

2017 EHR Incentive Programs Reporting Period January 1 – December 31, 2017
EP and eligible hospital deadline to submit a hardship application for the 2018 payment adjustment, based on the 2016 reporting period  July 1, 2017
CAH deadline to submit a hardship application for the 2016 payment adjustment based on the 2016 EHR reporting period.
First-time Participants CY 2017 EHR Reporting Period Attestation Deadline. October 1, 2017
Deadline for EPs who have not successfully demonstrated meaningful use in a prior year under the EHR Incentive Program and are transitioning to Merit-Based Inpatient Payment System (MIPS) in 2017 to submit a hardship application for the 2018 payment adjustment.
Deadline for Eligible hospitals and CAHs that have not successfully demonstrated meaningful use in a prior year, and are seeking to demonstrate meaningful use for the first time in 2017 to avoid the 2018 payment adjustment.

For the CY 2017 reporting period, hospitals participating in the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program must self-select and successfully report on a minimum of 8 of the 15 available eCQMs utilizing EHR technology certified to the 2014 or 2015 Edition through the QualityNet Secure Portal.

February 28, 2018


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.