Why do these things always seem to happen late on Friday afternoons? At least this time it’s not right before a holiday. Actually, with a bit more inspection, I see that it did happen right before a holiday.
HIMSS is reporting today that the White House’s Office of Management and Budget is “in its final stages of review” of the proposed rules for Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use EHR incentive program. OMB always goes over proposed and final regulations to measure the fiscal — and, presumably, political — impact before allowing executive-branch agencies to make public releases.
A peek at OMB’s reginfo.gov site indicates that the MU Stage 3 proposal from CMS and related ONC plan for certification of EHRs are indeed at OMB for final review.
“We are proposing the Stage 3 criteria that [eligible professionals], eligible hospitals, and [Critical Access Hospitals] must meet in order to successfully demonstrate meaningful use under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, focusing on advanced use of EHR technology to promote improved outcomes for patients. Stage 3 will also propose changes to the reporting period, timelines, and structure of the program, including providing a single definition of meaningful use. 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,” CMS states in a rule summary on the OMB site.
A placeholder date (“02/00/2015 “) on the same page suggests that the proposal will be published in February. However, a placeholder date on the page for the forthcoming ONC certification standards indicates that the plan was supposed to come out in November.
And the date the two notices appeared on the reginfo.gov? Dec. 31, when pretty much everyone was already checked out for the extended New Year’s weekend.
Stage 3 is scheduled to start no earlier than Oct. 1, 2016, for hospitals and Jan. 1, 2017, for individual providers.