On Aug. 23, CMS released its final rule for stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. CMS says the rule will enhance the health information exchange between providers, and promote patient engagement by giving patients secure online access to their health information.
In response to the March 7, 2012, proposed rule, the AADA issued a comment letter criticizing unachievable compliance thresholds, as well as efforts that measure physician performance by initiatives that require patient action or compliance. The AADA expressed that the proposed rule failed to advance meaningful physician-patient interaction.
The final rule adopts many provisions presented in the proposed rule from March, but the agency reduced some thresholds for successful compliance. Notably, CMS reduced patient utilization thresholds from 10 percent to 5 percent for two new patient engagement objectives: Providing patients online access to health information and secure messaging between patient and provider. The proposed rule required 10 percent of patients to access their health information online.
The final rule also modifies provisions for electronic exchange of summary of care documents. As proposed, CMS required a provider to send a summary of care record for more than 65 percent of transitions of care and referrals. In the final rule, however, CMS reduced the threshold to 50 percent.
In addition, CMS eliminated the requirement that summary of care documents be electronically sent to a provider with no organizational or vendor affiliation. The final rule requires only one exchange to be with a provider using EHR technology designed by a different EHR vendor. CMS also introduces an exclusion from compliance for providers based on availability of broadband in the provider’s practice area.
The final rule will become effective in 60 days; view a fact sheet about the rule here. For more information, call Richard Martin at (202) 842-2618.