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How Meaningful Use Stage 2 May Affect Your Medical Practice?

December 24, 2015

Meaningful Use – a brief background

meaningful_use_2-4Meaningful Use (or “MU”) was developed by them Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) as a way to measure and improve the efficiency of health care delivery, patient safety, population health and overall clinical quality via certified electronic health record technology, also known as “EHR.” Eligible professionals (“EP”) must meet certain rules for reporting these qualifying objectives to be able to participate in the CMS EHR Incentive Programs. As originally conceived, MU consisted of 3 stages:
  • Stage 1 effective from 2011-2012 was designed to capture and share data
  • Stage 2 effective in 2014 was focused on advance clinical processes
  • Stage 3 takes effect in 2017 and will focus on improved outcomes

Adopting and using MU will be (mostly) easier

The CMS’s Meaningful Use program has been undergoing changes to make it easier for EPs to capture and report data, with the goal being reducing the emphasis on health information technology and reporting, allowing it to become the tool for improvement that it was intended to be rather than the end focus. This will no doubt come as a relief for many practices trying to balance reporting objectives while still delivering a high standard of patient care.

Changes to objectives of the EHR Incentive Programs:

In what is known as the Final Rule, CMS has attempted to streamline the reporting of objectives as well as redefine provider staging.

  • The 20 reporting objectives of prior stages have been reduced to nine, including one public health reporting objective, for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs).
  • The 19 objective for EPs have been reduced to 10, including a public health objective. In addition, the concept of “core” or “menu” measures was eliminated, further streamlining the reporting process.
  • Clinical Quality Measures (CQM) for CAHs and EPs remains as finalized earlier.
  • However, one of the proposals, Public Health and Clinical Data Registry (CDR) Reporting Objective may be problematic due to EHR vendors not providing supporting functions until closer to 2018 for three of the five required measures. 

Changes in provider status from Stage 1 to Stage 2

Stage 1 was removed from the program completely, with all providers now grouped into Stage 2. A Modified Stage 2 was created for those who were previously in Stage 1. These changes are also reflected in the shortened time frame for the reporting period.

Meaningful Use Attestation Calculator

Data entry measures have been scaled back and simplified

Record Demographics, Record Vital Signs, Record Smoking Status, Patient List, Patient Reminders, Clinical Summaries, and Structured Lab Results are among several previously-required measurements that have been removed.

Increased flexibility of the reporting period

Regardless of which stage an EP was in, all providers are now required to attest for a 90-day reporting period for 2015. In addition, EPs and state Medicaid agencies have been allowed additional time to comply with the new requirements and set of system improvements until January 1, 2018. Once the technology catches up, we should also see more simplified information exchanges between providers and patients with a more user-friendly interface structure.

M-Scribe Technologies, has been helping practices of all sizes and specialties with their billing, revenue management and audit compliance while improving client revenue-generation since 2003. If CQMs prove challenging, we can help your practice navigate the changes to CMS and other guidelines to successfully implement Stage 2 and keep workflows – and revenue – moving along with no interruptions in the reporting period.

Contact me at or call 888-727-4264 for a free analysis of your practice’s needs and learn how our experienced coders and billing staff can save you money while remaining compliant with all major federal, state and payer guidelines.


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