IT Forefront

What the new changes to MU and IQR mean for you

by Naomi Levinthal and Tony Panjamapirom, PhD

Many of our members could hardly believe the flexibilities CMS offered in the 2018 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) final rule. Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program (IQR) and the Meaningful Use (MU) requirements were reduced even beyond what had been proposed earlier this year. Within the 2,456-page rule, CMS also included reduced requirements for any Eligible Professionals (EPs) who have remaining incentives to earn in the Medicaid MU program.

We're glad to confirm that it will indeed be easier than anticipated for nearly all providers to meet MU and IQR reporting requirements in 2017 and 2018. Three key takeaways from the rule are:

  • The MU Stage 3 mandate is delayed. Stage 3 remains optional in 2018, and providers have an additional year to report Modified Stage 2 MU measures with their 2014 Edition CEHRT. In addition, CMS will not require providers to upgrade their certified EHR technology (CEHRT) to the 2015 Edition in 2018.

  • Reporting periods are reduced for both MU and IQR. CMS finalized a continuous 90-day reporting period for MU and only one self-selected quarter to report IQR eCQMs.

  • Fewer eCQMs are required. Only four measures are required for IQR electronic reporting, and only six are required for Medicaid EP MU.

With all these changes, you might be wondering what this means for your MU and IQR reporting strategy. CMS has published so many modifications to these programs over the years that many of our members find it difficult to keep track of the changes and know what measures are actually required. It's even more challenging if you support multiple stakeholders (i.e., hospitals that participate in Medicare and/or Medicaid MU programs, clinicians reporting Medicaid MU and/or MIPS).

While the 2015 Edition CEHRT delay provides some relief and affords more time to upgrade your EHR, you may wonder if you should report Stage 3 if you already have the required systems in place. Meanwhile, hospitals must ensure that their CEHRTs are certified to all available eCQMs—not only those they select to report.

 

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