By Kasia Michalik
The final rule for Stage 2 of meaningful use was announced on August 23 and there are several changes that physicians, dialysis clinics, as well as vendors should prepare for.
Although attestation for Stage 2 doesn’t start until 2014, some Stage 1 changes will go into effect in 2013.
"In the final rule for Stage 2, CMS also provided changes to some of the calculations in Stage 1. As part of this, there will be some additional limitations and exclusions going into effect in 2013," said Emily Bonham, product director for Falcon EHR. "We need to make sure that our software is able to calculate the information in the new ways that they are asking."
Vendors need to prepare themselves for these rapidly approaching changes. They need to interact with the physicians and make sure everyone is on track for 2013.
“The reason the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made changes to Stage 1 was because they were trying to solve problems,” said Derek Schoonover, VP of Falcon EHR. “I think they are trying to make it clearer for physicians, not harder.”
Attestation for Stage 2 will be similar to Stage 1. The attestation period was 90 days for the first year and then the following year it became the entire calendar year.
“What Stage 2 does, which is unique in 2014—regardless whether you are reporting from Stage 1 or Stage 2—the reporting period will be a calendar quarter that year, and that year only,” said Terry Ketchersid, MD, MBA, vice president and medical officer at HITSG. “Afterwards it will go back to the way it is now, which is the 12-month reporting period.”
The first day of January, April, July and October will be the day that eligible providers (EPs) will be able to attest for Stage 2.
“For 2014 I think this is a good thing they are doing because it gives people a little more time,” Ketchersid said. “Two thousand fourteen is the last year to start if you want to receive a financial incentive on the Medicare side.”
This extra time allows vendors to get on board and get everything updated to the CMS standards and requirements.