A Health Care E-Alert

In January, the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy Committee released potential measures for Stage 2 of meaningful use. In July 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the long-awaited Meaningful Use Final Rule (the MU Final Rule) defining the Stage 1 criteria for meaningful use and signaling that the bar for what constitutes meaningful use would be raised in subsequent stages in order to improve advanced care processes and health outcomes. In 2010, the HIT Policy Committee held six public hearings, including testimony from several dozen stakeholders, and received public comments via its blog. The HIT Policy Committee used this information to develop the proposed Stage 2 requirements.

Generally, the nature of the Stage 2 requirements do not differ from the Stage 1 requirements. Rather, certain measures such as percentages of patients for which measures must be recorded increase in Stage 2. Likewise, certain “menu set” items that are optional in Stage 1 become mandatory in Stage 2. There are several new requirements in Stage 2, however, and even some criteria where the Committee is seeking input from commenters on appropriate Stage 2 measures.

The proposed Stage 2 requirements were specifically designed by the HIT Policy Committee to solicit additional public feedback. The Committee’s goal in sending out this request for comments early is threefold:

  1. Provide some signal to the industry of potential new electronic health record (EHR) functionalities that the Committee may recommend to help the industry get a head start on developing new functionalities.
  2. Extend the public discussion of future stage meaningful use definitions through a more formal public comment process well in advance of its formal final Stage 2 recommendations to be issued in the summer of 2011.
  3. Request input on specific questions.

To submit a comment electronically, providers should visit the Regulations.gov web page. The comment period is open until 5 p.m., Eastern Time, February 25, 2011. Following analysis of the comments received through the public comment period, the HIT Policy Committee intends to revisit these recommendations in its public meetings in the spring of 2011.