White House Reviewing CMS and ONC Proposed Rules to Update the EHR Incentive Program and HIT Certification Requirements

In this month’s post, we take a look at a recent post on the Radiology and Health IT Blog.

An article posted on Radiology and HIT Blog discusses important updates to the EHR Incentive Program and certification requirements.

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) submitted proposed rules to update the EHR Incentive Program participation and technology certification requirements for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review. OIRA review is one of the final steps in the federal rulemaking process prior to submission to the Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) Office of the Federal Register (OFR). Public stakeholders will be able to access the text of these two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) for the first time when they are placed on the OFR’s Public Inspection Desk. So, while we know that public release of the NPRMs is imminent (OIRA review could last up to 90 days – usually closer to a month or two), the only information we have about the content at the moment is included in the rough descriptions on OIRA’s website.

The description for CMS’ NRPM, “Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs–Stage 3” (RIN: 0938-AS26), indicates that it will propose changes to “the reporting period, timelines, and structure of the program, including providing a single definition of meaningful use.” It goes on to say that “These changes will provide a flexible, yet, clearer framework to ensure future sustainability of the EHR program and reduce confusion stemming from multiple stage requirements.” Hopefully, this means physician participants will be rewarded with a new, much-needed infusion of flexibility this rulemaking cycle.

Read entire article on Radiology and HIT Blog

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ONC 2015 Edition Certification Criteria Proposed Rule

In this month’s post, we take a look at the ONC 2015 Edition Proposed Rule.

The 2015 Edition Proposed Rule introduces the beginning of the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC’s) more frequent approach to health information technology certification regulations. Under this approach, ONC intends to update certification criteria editions every 12 to 18 months in order to provide smaller, more incremental regulatory changes and policy proposals. This approach gives stakeholders greater and earlier visibility into our regulatory direction before compliance is required, provides more time for public input on policy proposals under consideration for future rulemakings, and enables our certification processes to more quickly adopt newer industry standards that can enhance interoperability.

The 2015 Edition EHR certification criteria proposed in this rule would be voluntary. No EHR technology developer who has certified its EHR technology to the 2014 Edition would need to recertify to the 2015 Edition in order for its customers to participate in the EHR Incentive Program. Furthermore, eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals that participate in the EHR Incentive Programs would not need to “upgrade” to EHR technology certified to 2015 Edition in order to have EHR technology that meets the Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) definition. Instead, the 2015 Edition EHR certification criteria would accomplish three policy objectives:

  • Enable a more efficient and effective response to stakeholder feedback
  • Incorporate ”bug fixes” to improve on 2014 Edition EHR certification criteria in ways designed to make our rules clearer and easier to implement
  • Reference newer standards and implementation specifications that reflect our commitment to promoting innovation and enhancing interoperability

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on February 26, 2014. ONC will accept comments on the proposed rule through April 28, 2014 via regulations.gov. A voluntary public comment template offers a simple and organized way to submit comments on the proposed certification criteria and associated standards and implementation specifications, and respond to specific questions posed in the preamble of the proposed rule. The final rule is expected to be issued in summer 2014.

Proposed Rule (Federal Register): http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/pagedetails.action?granuleId=2014-03959&packageId=FR-2014-02-26&acCode=FR

Public Comment Template: http://healthit.gov/sites/default/files/2015editionnprm_public_comment_template_final.docx

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