EHR.cmsIn a joint announcement made on Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued a proposal that would give healthcare providers more flexibility in the way they utilize their electronic health record systems and extend the deadlines for meeting Stage 2 and Stage 3 Meaningful Use attestation requirements.

The agencies indicated that their decision to modify the attestation timeline for the EHR incentive program was prompted by widespread reports of issues revolving around the untimely delivery and implementation of the 2014 software. After listening to the concerns of countless provider associations and stakeholders, it became clear to CMS and ONC that the delays and difficulties experienced would make it extremely hard for providers to fully and implement the updated software across their facilities.

“Increasing the adoption of EHRs is key to improving the nation’s health care system, and the steps we are taking today will give new options to those who, through no fault of their own, have been unable to get the new 2014 Edition technology, including those at high risk, such as smaller providers and rural hospitals,” Karen DeSalvo, MD, national coordinator for health information technology said in a press release.

The proposed rule allows providers to continue using 2011-certified EHR software or a combination of 2011- and 2014-certified EHR technology for the 2014 reporting period, but beginning in 2015, all eligible providers would be required to use 2014 edition software.

To read the press release and access the proposed rule, click here.