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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Stage 3 Meaningful Use Deadline Delayed by One Year

December 10, 2013 | Health Information Technology | Comments
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a one-year delay in the implementation of Stage 3 Meaningful Use criteria. Established under the HITECH Act of 2009, each stage of Meaningful Use outlines the metrics organizations must meet to receive incentive payments for their use of electronic health records. Participating organizations will have an additional year to comply with Stage 2 criteria while CMS crafts its proposed rules for Stage 3. The agency noted that the decision to delay will allow CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to make use of data from Stage 2 in crafting the Stage 3 criteria.

CMS anticipates that the proposed Stage 3 rules will be released in the fall of 2014, with final rules anticipated in the first half of 2015. The Stage 3 rules would go into effect for eligible professionals in January 2017 and for eligible hospitals in October 2016, for providers and hospitals that have completed at least two years in Stage 2.

Currently, mental health and addiction treatment organizations are not eligible to participate in the incentive program as facilities. Eligible professionals (including psychiatrists and some nurse practitioners) employed by behavioral health organizations may receive payments on behalf of their organization.

Visit the National Council’s Health IT webpage to learn more about the health IT incentive program and our efforts to extend eligibility to behavioral health organizations.