The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has added three new Frequently Asked Questions relating to clinical quality measure specifications under the electronic health records meaningful use program:

QUESTION: When new versions of clinical quality measure (CQM) specifications are released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), do developers of Electronic Health Records (EHR) technology need to seek retesting/recertification of their certified complete EHR or certified EHR module in order to keep its certification valid?

ANSWER: No. The minimum version required for 2014 Edition certification is the version of CQM specifications released by CMS in December 2012.  EHR technology that has been issued a certification based on the December 2012 version will remain certified even when CMS releases new versions of CQM specifications.

We strongly encourage EHR technology developers to update to the newest CQMs specifications as they become available since those updates include new codes, logic corrections and clarifications. We also recommend EHR technology developers consider that other CMS programs (beyond the EHR Incentive Programs) and other private sector programs generally update CQMs on an annual basis.  Thus, not updating EHR technology to the newest CQM version specifications creates the potential that providers may not be able to participate and report in those other programs for which they are eligible because the CQM data generated by their EHR technology is based on older specification versions and therefore may not be accepted by the other programs. Please see FAQ 8898 and 8900 for additional information pertaining to the relationship between EHR certification and the CQM specification updates.

QUESTION: If the Electronic Health Records (EHR) technology is already certified to the “version 1” clinical quality measure (CQM) specifications, can it be updated to include the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s (CMS) updated “version 2” specifications without seeking retesting/recertification?

ANSWER: Yes, you can update your EHR technology to the new version of the CQM specifications without seeking additional testing and certification.

If you change your certified EHR technology’s version when you update it to include the new version of CQM specifications you will also need to contact your Office of the National Coordinator - Authorized Certification Body (ONC-ACB) and, at a minimum, submit an inherited certified status request to get this new version certified and listed on the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) for selection by your customers. The ONC-ACB would have discretion to require additional testing in relation to your request for inherited certified status. Please see FAQ 8896 and 8900 for additional information pertaining to the relationship between EHR certification and the CQM specification updates.

QUESTION: If Electronic Health Records (EHR) technology has not yet been certified to the criteria related to clinical quality measure (CQM) capabilities (45 CFR 170.314(c)(1) through (3)), can the EHR technology be tested and certified to just the newest available version of the CQM specifications?

ANSWER: Yes.  We strongly encourage EHR technology developers to test and certify to the newest CQMs specifications as they become available since those updates include new codes, logic corrections and clarifications.  In addition, other CMS programs (beyond the EHR Incentive Programs) and other private sector programs generally update CQMs on an annual basis.  Updating EHR technology to the newest CQM version specifications enables providers to participate and report in those other programs for which they are eligible as well. Please see FAQ 8896 and 8898 for additional information pertaining to the relationship between EHR certification and the CQM specification updates.

All meaningful use FAQs are available here.

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