Senior editor Cheryl Clark provided additional reporting.
The long-anticipated proposed rules for meaningful use Stage 2 were released late Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services.
view the 455-page proposed rules document
In a press conference at the annual conference for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, (HIMSS) Farzad Mostashari, head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, characterized the proposed rules as "reducing the regulatory burden" for providers. He noted that the proposed rules are consistent with recommendations by the Health IT Policy and Health IT Standards committees.
"It's our expectation that the vast majority of providers and nearly every hospital will become meaningful users."
Mostashari highlighted these aspects of the proposed rule:
- It continues the core and menu objectives. He said the Department of Health and Human Services considered eliminating the menu objectives but decided it was important to provide that flexibility of meeting both core and menu objectives.
- Regardless of when they start, everyone would have two years in Stage 1, two years in Stage 2, and two years in Stage 3
- A 90-day reporting period would be retained for the first year
- It allows medical groups to report quality measures as a group instead of on an individual basis. In a practice with 20 doctors, for example, there would be no need to individually slice out which provider had which quality measure. Mostashari said that's more in line with the principle of team and accountable group care.
- HHS is seeking comments on whether group reporting should be extended to functional measures such as prescribing measures.
- By default, vendors would enable encryption on end user devices