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Meaningful Use Stages

The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide financial incentives for the "meaningful use" of certified EHR technology. To receive an EHR incentive payment, providers have to show that they are "meaningfully using" their certified EHR technology by meeting certain measurement thresholds that range from recording patient information as structured data to exchanging summary care records.

The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs include three stages with increasing requirements for participation; each stage represents a level of adoption of using their certified EHR system. All providers begin participating by meeting the Stage 1 requirements for a 90-day period in their first year of meaningful use and a full year in their second year of meaningful use. After meeting the Stage 1 requirements, providers will then have to meet Stage 2 requirements for two full years. Eligible professionals participate in the program on the calendar years, while eligible hospitals and CAHs participate according to the Federal fiscal year.

Essentially, use major functionality of a certified EHR. Document set percentages of your visits, diagnoses, prescriptions, immunizations and other relevant health information electronically; use clinical support tools (warnings and reminders that will be included in certified EHRs); share patient information; and report quality measures and public health information.

  • Medicaid participants have the option to select A/I/U (Adopt/Implement/Upgrade) ONLY for the first participation year.
    • Adopt - Acquire and Install a certified EHR technology capable of meeting Meaningful Use
    • Implement - Commence Utilization of a certified EHR technology capable of meeting MU
    • Upgrade - Upgrade/expand to a certified EHR technology or add new functionality to meet the definition of certified EHR technology

In addition to continuing to use all functionality from stage 1, physicians will be required to use an EHR to send and receive information such as lab orders and results.

On August 23, 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the initial final rule for Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. The rule provides new criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet to successfully participate in the EHR Incentive Programs.

Because of the complexity of these rules, we wanted to provide links to resources available to you to help with any questions you may have.