Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule for Stage 2 criteria for "meaningful use" for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs.
In the rule, CMS proposes to specify criteria that eligible health care professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals must meet in order to qualify for an incentive payment, as well as introduce changes to the program timeline and detail payment adjustments. The proposed Stage 2 criteria focus on increasing the electronic capturing of health information in a structured format and the exchange of clinically relevant information between providers at care transitions.
CMS also proposes new objectives that have greater applicability to specialty providers and additional criteria for reporting clinical quality measures.
Physical therapists (PTs) are not defined as EPs at this time; therefore, they are not yet eligible for incentives under Medicare of Medicaid, but, accordingly, they will not be subject to penalties for failure to implement EHR systems. However, physicians and facilities that are included in the program will expect PTs with whom they share patients to use compatible EHR systems. A new APTA resource, Guide to Understanding and Adopting Electronic Health Records, can help PTs make decisions about selecting and implementing EHRs.