The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has formally extended the deadlines for healthcare providers to comply with the qualifications of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Healthcare Record Incentive Program.

The Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Healthcare Record Incentive Program provides healthcare entities financial incentives for “meaningfully using” Certified Electronic Healthcare Record Technology (“CEHRT”). CEHRT seeks to improve issues related to quality of care, security of patient records, and efficiency. Providers must show they are meaningfully using this funding by meeting objectives set each year.   CMS extended the compliance period for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use Program through 2016 and delayed the implementation of Stage 3 until 2017. These extensions come amid expressions of concern from healthcare entities that they would be unable to fully implement the program and meet the necessary qualifications. Originally proposed in December 2013, CMS formalized this decision on May 20, 2014.

These extensions will allow providers to use previously disqualified CEHRT software from 2011 or a combination of 2011 and 2014 editions for their 2014 reporting and still receive incentive benefits. However, all providers must utilize the 2014 edition by 2015. This may be subject to change should any additional extensions be implemented.