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MU Modified Stage 2 (2015-2016)

On October 6, 2015, CMS released the 2015 program requirements for Meaningful Use (MU). The program requirements outlined in Final Rule 42 CFR 495 specify what an eligible professional (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments and avoid payment adjustments.  The rule also established the requirements for Stage 3, but allows for a comment period after which modifications may be made to these Stage 3 requirements. Now that the rules have been released, what changed?

Breakdown of some of those changes for 2015 – 2016:

  1.  Stage 1 and Stage 2 have been combined and specific alternatives have been incorporated for 2015 only. The previous measure structure of core and menu objectives has been replaced with 10 objectives, including one consolidated public health reporting objective.
  2. Measures that were considered “topped-out” or “redundant” were removed.  These included patient demographics, patient vitals and creating electronic notes.  However, in order to meet clinical quality measure objectives, providers will need to continue to collect this information.
  3. The objectives are the same regardless of the number of years you have participated in the EHR Incentive Program.

First year as MU EHR User

Stage of MU
2015 2016 2017
2011 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 or 3
2012 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 or 3
2013 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 or 3
2014 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 or 3
2015 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 or 3
2016   Modified Stage 2 Modified Stage 2 or 3

Top game changing highlights include:

  1. Patient Electronic Access (VDT): The threshold for the Stage 2 objective for Patient Electronic Access measure #2 has been changed from “5% of the patient population” to “equal to or greater than 1 patient seen by the provider.”  This means that only 1 patient will need to view, download, or transmit their medication information via the Patient Portal.
  2. Secure Electronic Messaging: The threshold for the Stage 2 objective Secure Electronic Messaging has been changed to “functionality fully enabled (yes/no).”  This means that a provider will only need to indicate by a yes or no whether their patients have the capability to send him/her secure messages.
  3. Public Health Reporting: The public health reporting objectives have been consolidated into one objective with three measure options for EPs.