CMS proposal relaxes EHR reporting requirements

Medical errors are a leading cause of death and injuries in U.S. hospitals according to the Institute of Medicine

The rule also proposes changes for payment rates under the Inpatient Prospective Payment System, that would set the proposed increase of about 1.6 percent in operating payment rates for general acute care hospitals paid under that program that participate in the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program and are meaningful users of EHRs.

The new rule, issued on Friday, follows recent calls from providers and the health IT community to scale back on Meaningful Use and quality data reporting requirements.

The rule, CMS says, is part of an effort to "relieve regulatory burdens, support the patient-doctor relationship in healthcare and promote transparency, flexibility and innovation in the delivery of care".

In the 2017 calendar year reporting period (and 2019 fiscal year payment determination), hospitals would be required to choose six available eCQMs listed in the Hospital IQR Program measure set and offer two chosen calendar year quarters of data.

In response, CMS reduced the number of available eCQMs hospitals are required to report from eight to six, and the number of required reported fiscal year data from a full year to two quarters.

Though the payment rules may concern hospitals, health IT officials will likely celebrate the proposed rule that relates to EHR reporting requirements. The proposed change adds an exception that removes the penalty for being unable to meet the requirements - a change mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act.

The proposal would also ease the meaningful use attestation period for both physicians and hospitals to any continuous 90-period in 2018.

CMS has also released a Request for Information to solicit ideas for regulatory, policy, practice, and procedural changes to better achieve transparency, flexibility, program simplification, and innovation. The fact sheet for the rule can be read here.

Furthermore, CMS is inviting public comment on potential new quality measures for future inclusion in the Hospital IQR Program, accounting for social risk factors, and providing confidential feedback reports to hospitals with measure rates for certain measures stratified by patients' dual eligibility status.

The market basket figure, which is calculated annually, reflects changes in the costs of inpatient goods and services provided at acute care hospitals.

Based on the combination of proposed payment rate increases and other proposed policies and payment adjustments, CMS projects that hospitals would see a total increase in inpatient operating prospective payments of 2.9 percent in fiscal year 2018.

Update policies related to the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, and the Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program.

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