The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today that the Meaningful Use Stage 2 deadline will be extended through 2016. This also means that Stage 3 won’t begin until 2017 for providers who have completed at least two years of Stage 2.

As we reported in a previous blog post, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), along with several other groups, have been suggesting an extension of the Stage 2 deadline for quite some time. The CMS has previously rejected the idea of Stage 2 being delayed, but has now apparently reversed its position.

A statement from Robert Tagalicod, director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at CMS, and Jacob Reider, Acting National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at ONC, lists a number of expected benefits of the new timeline. These include more available data on Stage 2 adoption, and additional time to prepare for Stage 3.

It also gives EHR technology vendors more time to develop certified technology, which will help ease the concern of providers using not yet certified EHRs. As late as September of this year, only 6 percent of EHR vendors that previously had a Stage 1 certified product were certified for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, so this news should come as a relief to both vendors and providers.

As always, MediTouch EHR users need not worry. HealthFusion’s MediTouch has already been Meaningful Use Stage 2 certified for several months, and will be ready for Stage 3 in plenty of time for 2017.

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