CMS reversed course yesterday with a proposed rule significantly changing the 2014 Meaningful Use reporting requirements. The proposed rule is being hailed as providing relief to eligible providers who were struggling to attest for Stage 2 Meaningful Use, giving providers options for the objectives and measures they can attest for this year.

As you can see from the chart below, providers now have the option to attest for either 2013 (Stage 1) or 2014 (Stage 2) objectives and measures, regardless of what Stage they attested to in prior years. Only providers using 2014 technology are able to attest to Stage 2 measures. With regard to this new rule we believe that most all providers will want to attest to Stage 1 measures because the standard is much easier to meet.

CMS MU Chart

The proposed rule will likely not become law for several months—we predict August or September. As a result, most providers will probably want to wait until the rule is official. Since there may not be enough time for the law to be passed by July 1, most providers that were slated to be Stage 2 attesters this year will want to wait until the rule is official.

Our recommendation is that Stage 2 providers attest using 2014 Stage 1 objectives, as they are already familiar with those measures and have successfully attested for them. Because Stage 1 is so much easier, and providers will still only be required to attest for one quarter, we recommend that providers bide their time and wait for the law to be passed before beginning their attestation.

Providers should note that this change is not permanent; beginning in 2015, eligible providers must report using a 2014-certified EHR. Since we are just 7 months away from 2015 we still recommend only choosing vendors that are 2014 certified.

In the meantime, back to the 2013 Meaningful Use future.

If you would like to know exactly why CMS was forced to change course, read our blog post, “Why Stage 2 Meaningful Use is Still a Pipe Dream for Many Eligible Professionals” that predicted CMS’ change in the rule.