On August 23, 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the final rule for Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program (the “Final Rule”). The Final Rule specifies the criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals must meet in order to qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid Stage 2 EHR incentive payments.

Specifically, the Final Rule consolidates several existing Stage 1 objectives and adds new objectives for Stage 2. Stage 2 will include 20 measures for eligible professionals (17 core and 3 of 6 menu) and 19 measures for eligible hospitals (16 core and 3 of 6 menu). Additionally, the Final Rule delays the onset of Stage 2 criteria by stating that providers will not be required to demonstrate Stage 2 of meaningful use before 2014. This means, for example, that providers attesting to Stage 1 of meaningful use in 2011 or 2012 will attest to Stage 2 in 2014 instead of 2013. This more flexible reporting period for 2014 will give providers sufficient time to adopt or upgrade to the latest EHR technology certified for 2014.

For more information about the Final Rule see the CMS Stage 2 Final Rule Fact Sheet. The Final Rule will be published in the Federal Register September 4, 2012.