Meaningful Use Overview

Meaningful use is using certified EHR technology to

  • Improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities
  • Engage patients and families in their healthcare
  • Improve care coordination
  • Improve population and public health
  • Maintain privacy and security

See important information below concerning 2015 meaningful use.

The overarching goal of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is not the mere adoption of new technology, but the use of electronic health records (EHR) to systematically improve healthcare access, delivery, and quality. The HITECH Act and its associated regulations describe the application of EHR technology toward that end as "meaningful use."

Being a meaningful user indicates successful achievement of specific procedural and clinical benchmarks using certified EHR technology. Providers will attain meaningful use by progressing through three stages during their years of participation in the EHR Incentive Program and attesting to those achievements. Stage 1 criteria focus on capturing information electronically in a structured format, implementing clinical decision support tools, engaging patients in their healthcare, and reporting public health and quality measures. Stages 2 and 3 will have a greater focus on health information exchange and improvements in quality of care and patient access. Other aspects of the HITECH Act in addition to the EHR Incentive Program, such as provisions for health information exchanges, are designed to support the meaningful use of electronic health information.

Eligible providers can earn incentive payments by attesting to meaningful use measures using the Provider Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) portal. Below are resources and information to facilitate successful attestation.

Eligible providers who have attested to adopting, implementing, or upgrading (AIU) certified EHR technology or attesting for the first time can work toward achieving Meaningful Use.

Payment Adjustments & Hardship Information

Eligible professionals may be exempt from MEDICARE payment adjustments if they can show that demonstrating meaningful use would result in a significant hardship. To be considered for an exception, an eligible professional must complete a Hardship Exception application along with proof of the hardship. If approved, the hardship exception is valid for 1 payment year only. A new application must be submitted if the hardship continues for the following payment year. In no case may a provider be granted an exception for more than 5 years. For more information visit the CMS EHR Payment Adjustments & Hardship Information website and CMS FAQ 12845.

Important 2015 Meaningful Use Information:

CMS What You Need to Know for 2015 Tipsheet

CMS EHR Incentive Program 2015 - 2017 Overview

eHealth Webinar Oct 8, 205 Final Rule

2015 Meaningful Use Changes

CMS has released both the 2015 through 2017 Modified Stage 2 measures and the Meaningful Use Stage 3 measures. You can access them at EHR Stage 3 and Modifications to MU 2015 to 2017 . All EPs attesting to meaningful use in 2015 must have 2014 Edition CEHRT.

The CMS 2015 meaningful use rule change has changed the structure of meaningful use for 2015 through 2017. There are now 10 required objectives for EPs based upon Stage 2 objectives with alternate exclusions and measures for Stage 1 providers in 2015 only.

Comparison Table

  Stage 1 Structure Retained Objectives New Modified Stage 2 2015 – 2017 Structure
EP 13 core objectives 5 of 9 menu objectives Including 1 public health objective 6 core objectives 3 menu objectives 2 public health objectives 9 core objectives 1 public health objective (3 measure options)
  2014 Stage 2 Structure Retained Objectives New Modified Stage 2 2015 – 2017 Structure
EPs 17 core objectives including public health objectives 3 of 6 menu objectives 9 core objectives 0 menu objectives 3 public health objectives 9 core objectives 1 public health objective (4 measure options)

Providers who are scheduled to demonstrate Stage 1 of meaningful use for an EHR reporting period in 2015 may attest to meaningful use using the specifications established for Stage 1 objectives and measures defined at 42CFR 495.6 for each retained objective or measure where there is a difference in specifications between Stages 1 and 2. For these providers, alternate measures and exclusions will be available in payment year 2015 only.

Beginning in 2016, all providers, including those who would otherwise be scheduled for Stage 1, must attest to the specification including the measure thresholds associated with the Stage 2 measures with no additional alternate measures or exclusions.

Stage 1 Eligible Professionals

Stage 1 meaningful use core and menu measures were retired by CMS effective December 15, 2015. Use the link below to find information on retired meaningful use measures.

MU Requirements for Previous Years

Stage 2 Eligible Professionals

Attest to All providers, regardless of participation year in meaningful use, must report the modified Stage 2 until Stage 3 meaningful use is offered or required..

CMS 2015 MU Program Requirements

All providers attesting to meaningful use in 2015 must have 2014 Edition CEHRT. Providers may continue using 2014 Edition CEHRT until the 2015 Edition CEHRT is required in program year 2018. However, CMS will allow EPs to upgrade to 2015 Edition CEHRT as soon as the technology is available. In 2016 and 2017 EPs can use 2014 Edition CEHRT, 2015 CEHRT or a combination of 2014 and 2015 Editions of CEHRT. Starting in 2018, all EPs must have 2015 Edition CEHRT.

Stage 3 Eligible Professionals

Stage 3 Final Rule has been published at EHR Stage 3 and Modifications to MU 2015 to 2017 . EPs can begin reporting Stage 3 measures in 2017 and all EPs attesting to meaningful use in 2018 must report Stage 3 objectives and measures.

Stage 3 measures coming soon.

According to the federal rules of the EHR Provider Incentive Payment Program, the opportunity to register for participation in the EHR Incentive Program ends December 31, 2016 at 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time. After that date if you are not enrolled in this program, you will not be eligible to earn the incentive for having and using certified Electronic Health Records technology (CEHRT). Information on this web site will assist you in all phases of the program. Or you contact us through the “Resources” link on the left.