HHS releases medicaid rules


The US Department of Health and Human Services has released the stage three notice of proposed rulemaking for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHRs) incentive programs.

Together with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), HHS also revealed the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria to improve the way electronic health information is shared and ultimately improve the way care is delivered and experienced.

According to the HHS, these proposed rules will give providers additional flexibility, make the program simpler, and drive interoperability among electronic health records, and increase the focus on patient outcomes to improve care.

The proposed rules are one part of a larger effort across HHS to deliver better care, spend health dollars more wisely, and have healthier people and communities by working in three core areas: to improve the way providers are paid; improve the way care is delivered; and improve the way information is shared.

“The flow of information is fundamental to achieving a health system that delivers better care, smarter spending, and healthier people. The steps we are taking today will help to create more transparency on cost and quality information, bring electronic health information to inform care and decision making, and support population health,” said HHS secretary Sylvia Burwell.

The meaningful use stage 3 proposed rule issued by CMS specifies new criteria that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet to qualify for Medicaid EHR incentive payments.

The rule also proposes criteria that providers must meet to avoid Medicare payment adjustments based on program performance beginning in payment year 2018.

The 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria proposed rule aligns with the path toward interoperability – the secure, efficient, and effective sharing and use of health information –identified in ONC’s draft shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap.

It builds on past editions of adopted health IT certification criteria, and includes new and updated IT functionality and provisions that support the EHR incentive programs care improvement, cost reduction, and patient safety across the health system.

“This Stage 3 proposed rule does three things: it helps simplify the meaningful use program, advances the use of health IT toward our vision for improving health delivery, and further aligns the program with other quality and value programs,” said Dr Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer. “And, in an effort to make reporting easier for health care providers, we will be proposing a new meaningful use reporting deadline soon.”

Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, national coordinator for health IT, added: “ONC’s proposed rule will be an integral component in the shared nationwide effort to achieve an interoperable health system.

“The certification criteria we have proposed in the 2015 Edition will help achieve that vision through provisions that consider the range of health IT users and uses across the care continuum, including those focused on interoperable standards, data portability, improved transparency, privacy and security capabilities, and increased oversight through ONC’s Health IT Certification Program.”

HHS, US, CMS, ONC, Sylvia Burwell, Dr Patrick Conway, Risk Management, IT and Data Security, Karen DeSalvo