The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the final rule for stage 2 of “meaningful use.” Physicians must demonstrate “meaningful use” in order to receive incentives for the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) under either the Medicare or Medicaid (Medi-Cal) incentive programs, In general, meaningful use is a set of measures that report how physicians are using their EHRs to the state or federal government.  In order to receive the incentive, physicians must demonstrate meaningful use – or, show that they are using core capacities of their EHR systems at a sufficient frequency.  

CMA has created an overview of the final rule and Stage 2 requirements, which can be accessed online. Like Stage 1, the document summarizes the mandatory measures that physicians must report, as well as a series of clinical quality measures from which physicians must select. It also describes some changes to the existing Stage 1 requirements,  which should have minimal impact on physicians who have already demonstrated meaningful use, as they are predominantly optional measures and new avenues for physicians to exclude measures.  Finally, it discusses the Medicare payment reduction for physicians who do not demonstrate meaningful use of an EHR, including how physicians can achieve meaningful use in time to avoid Medicare payment reductions.  For a copy of CMA’s guide, visit www.cmanet.org or call 510-654-5383.