The final rule for Meaningful Use Stage 2 was released late Thursday afternoon by the Department of Health and Human Services. In a step sure to please many stakeholders, HHS will delay the onset of MU Stage 2 criteria until 2014 to allow time for vendors to develop the necessary certified electronic health record technology.
The 672-page rule specifies the criteria that eligible professionals, hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet to qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid electronic health record incentive payments. It also specifies the Medicare payment adjustments that will be made for failing to demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.
The final rule reflects some give and take based on 6,100 "items of timely correspondence" received in response to the proposed rule released in March. In addition to delaying the onset of MU Stage 2 criteria, HHS finalized a special three-month EHR reporting period, rather than a full year, for providers attesting to either Stage 1 or Stage 2 in 2014 to allow time for providers to implement newly certified EHRs.