The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have released a notice of proposed rulemaking for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, Stage 3 Meaningful Use (MU), and 2015 EHR Certification Criteria.

Together, the rule will give providers additional flexibility, simplify the program to reduce burden, drive interoperability among EHRs, and increase the focus on patient outcomes to improve care.

“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 M. Burwell.

In order to achieve these goals, the rule includes some of the following proposals:

  • Establish requirements to transition the program to a single stage of Meaningful Use beginning in 2018 regardless of how long an eligible provider (EP) or eligible hospital (EH) has been participating in the EHR Incentive Program.
  • Align MU reporting periods with the calendar year for EPs and EHs beginning in 2017.
  • Encourage electronic submission of clinical quality measures in 2017; a requirement that will become mandatory in 2018.
  • More closely align the EHR Incentive Program with other CMS quality reporting programs, such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) program.
  • Reduce the number of objectives to 8 which focus on advanced use of EHRs.

More information on the proposed rule is available in the CMS press release and fact sheet.

The proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.  We encourage public comment on the proposed rule using the methods outlined within the proposed rule document.  The comment period ends on May 29, 2015.

The Draft 2015 Edition Certification Test Procedures may be viewed at, and the comment period ends on June 30, 2015.