The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has received the proposed rule for meaningful use Stage 3 from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with publication in the Federal Register expected in the next six weeks.
The proposed rule lacks significant detail, but does say that “Stage 3 will also propose changes to the reporting period, timelines, and structure of the program, including providing a single definition of meaningful use. These changes will provide a flexible, yet, clearer framework to ensure future sustainability of the EHR program and reduce confusion stemming from multiple stage requirements.” HHS further states that the focus of Stage 3 will be on improving healthcare outcomes and further advance interoperability.
In the notice to OMB, HHS also says that it is working with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to ensure that the Stage 3 meaningful use definition coordinates with the standards and certification requirements being proposed, and that there is sufficient time to upgrade and implement these changes. Stage 2 has been extended so that Stage 3 will not begin until 2017.
In March 2014, the Health IT Policy Committee voted to approve recommendations from its meaningful use workgroup for new objectives for Stage 3. Those recommendations, which have been scaled back 30 percent from the initial number, were sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which developed this proposed rule.