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Proposal would shrink 2015 meaningful use attestation period

Following through on a promise made earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services released a proposal to relax meaningful use reporting requirements in 2015. A major piece of the proposal would shrink the meaningful use attestation period for eligible professionals from a full year down to a consecutive 90-day period.

The 90-day attestation period would also be offered to providers attempting to demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs for the first time in 2016 — if the proposal is accepted as it’s currently written. The CMS proposal aims to align the EHR reporting period with the calendar year, instead of the fiscal year. That move means repeat meaningful use participants will have to successfully attest to meaningful use requirements from Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016.

CMS’ publication of a blog post in January, in which it declared its intention to shorten the 2015 reporting period, felt like a response to the pleas of groups such as the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). CHIME was on record as opposing the year-long reporting requirement in 2015, and had hoped CMS would replace it with a 90-day version before the end of last year.

The recent release from CMS offered changes to the patient engagement portions of the meaningful use criteria. As it stands, more than 5% of patients seen by an eligible professional (EP) during an attestation period must view, download or send their health information to third party. Instead, CMS now suggests only one patient must view, download or transmit their health information — only to prove this capability is in place and supported by the EP.

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