For a few hours last Friday, healthcare providers thought they were going to get some relief from next year's Meaningful Use Stage 2 implementation deadlines. But what observers are calling a poorly worded announcement from CMS hid the fact that the agency fully expects all Stage 2 start dates to remain unchanged.
Instead, the CMS announcement proposes to push back start dates for Meaningful Use Stage 3, by adding a third year of Stage 2 for those providers who attested for Stage 1 in 2011 or 2012.
Organizations which attested to Meaningful Use Stage 1 during the first year, 2011, and the second year, 2012, are still expected to attest to Meaningful Use Stage 2 during 2014. Those attesting to Stage 1 this year are still expected to attest to Stage 2 in 2015.
What CMS' proposal would mean is that start dates for Meaningful Use Stage 3 attestation would commence not in 2016, but in 2017 at the earliest.
Confusion sown by the Friday announcement even had HIMSS erroneously congratulating CMS for a Stage 2 delay that in fact was not in the cards. On Saturday morning, HIMSS put out a corrective statement expressing the same concern that CHIME had expressed the night before.