CMS to ease reporting rules for EHR Incentive program

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed easing the reporting rules for providers implementing electronic health records, which could come as good news for long-term care providers increasingly pushed to move to adopt EHR in an effort to improve care transitions and become a part of bundled payment systems.

In announcing the plan late last week, Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS's chief medical officer and deputy administrator for innovation and quality, said the agency hopes to make it easier for providers to comply with program requirements by addressing their concerns about difficulties in implementing EHR software and the lack of readiness for information exchange.

The proposed rule would shorten the reporting period for participants in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive programs in 2015 from a full year to just 90 days. It also would change the hospital reporting period from the fiscal year to the calendar year.

Numerous industry groups support the program and the proposed changes. More than 400,000 eligible providers have joined the ranks of hospitals and professionals that have adopted or are meaningfully using EHRs, Conway said.

Providers have until Feb. 28 to attest to meeting the requirements of the meaningful use program in 2014 to obtain an incentive payment and avoid a Medicare reimbursement cut.