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Strategic View of Meaningful Use Plus Final Rule Updates

Part 3

Hess, Cathy Thomas BSN, RN, CWOCN

Author Information
Advances in Skin & Wound Care: December 2015 - Volume 28 - Issue 12 - p 576
doi: 10.1097/01.ASW.0000473563.32219.4d
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In this column, and subsequent columns, we continue to review the CORE and MENU SET Objectives for Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 1 and Stage 2 (Table).1 As mentioned in previous columns (see The Strategic View of Meaningful Use), we began to review the importance of understanding the penalties, and timeframes for the penalties imposed, if MU documentation was overlooked. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), starting in 2015, if you are an eligible provider (EP) and have not attested to MU of your electronic health record (EHR) for 2014, penalties are set to increase by 1% yearly for the next several years, ultimately topping out at 4% ( After 2018, MU penalties will be folded into a new merit-based incentive payment system.


Please observe the following important note:

“The CMS recently released a final rule that specifies criteria that EPs, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to continue to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. The final rule’s provisions encompass EHR Incentive Programs in 2015 through 2017 (Modified Stage 2), as well as Stage 3 in 2018 and beyond.2

Key concepts for the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015 through 2017 (Modified Stage 2)2 include the following:

  • • Restructured Stage 1 and Stage 2 objectives and measures to align with Stage 3:
  • ○ 10 objectives for EPs, including one consolidated public health reporting objective with measure options
  • ○ 9 objectives for eligible hospitals and CAHs, including 1 consolidated public health reporting objective with measure options
    • • Starting in 2015, the EHR reporting period aligns with the calendar year for all providers
    • • Changed the EHR reporting period in 2015 to 90 days to accommodate modifications to MU
    • • Modified Stage 2 patient engagement objectives that require “patient action”
    • • Streamlined the program by removing redundant, duplicative, and topped-out measures
    • • CQM reporting for both (EPs) and eligible hospitals/CAHs remains as previously finalized.2

See related changes to final rule at

I hope this review will assist you to move forward and comply with the CMS MU Program. Cheers to diligent documenting and strategic workflows!


1. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Stage 1 vs. Stage 2 Comparison Table for Eligible Professionals. Last accessed October 26, 2015.
2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. EHR Incentive Programs: 2015 through 2017 (Modified Stage 2) Overview. Last accessed October 26, 2015.
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