The EHR mandate will be pushed back by new CMS Ruling

In regards to Payments and Quality Reporting for Hospitals

On the heels of the new HIPAA ruling, CMS is set to publish a new rule.  On August 14th of this year, CMS will publish on their website, a new ruling that provides flexibility for hospitals regarding payments and quality reporting.  This impending rule, which was announced on the 2nd of August, will relieve 2 burdens which would have inhibited a large portion of hospitals and healthcare providers from complying with changes resulting from the MACRA legislation.


The Changes Providing Flexibility

  1. Rolling back the deadline for 2018 Certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) Systems.  CMS has changed the deadline for hospitals and healthcare systems to have 2018 certified EHR systems in place, allowing them to utilize EHR systems that meet either the 2014 or 2015 standards.  

    Before MACRA was published, many hospitals and healthcare systems made the costly investment in emerging EHR Systems.  These systems required a heavy investment in time, training and funds, but due to the more accurate healthcare data EHRs make available to doctors and clinicians, EHRs help to provide a better quality of patient care. That along with trying to reduce the costs of that same care to the patient, are two of the most important goals of the new MACRA legislation.  

    However, this January 1st deadline to upgrade EHR systems, would have forced these hospitals and healthcare systems to change yet again, before recouping their investment in their current EHR Systems.  Another issue for hospitals and healthcare systems, is that very few EHR providers have actually made the changes necessary to comply with the 2018 standards, providing hospital systems with less options and greater headaches.

  2. CMS has also stated that they will be updating the incentives for qualifying hospitals who have made the investment in EHR systems that have been decertified by the National Coordinator for Health IT.  As stated above, implementing a hospital wide system is a costly endeavor.  With a number of EHR systems recently being decertified, many hospitals and healthcare systems will be left in the lurch and looking to find the funds needed to implement yet another system.

  3. Currently, hospitals are required to submit quality data or, “meaningful use attestation” for the full year in order to comply in 2018, the first year of mandatory MACRA participation.  In the new ruling, CMS will shorten this period from one full year, to a continuous 90 day period.

  4. Additional changes will be made to policies relating to other technologies relating to Medicare and MACRA.  For a list of these specific changes you can view the announcement from CMS here.