The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced changes in how hospitals, including critical access hospitals, will attest to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Meaningful Use Program in 2018.

Rather than using the Medicare EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System, the hospitals will attest for meaningful use in 2017, starting January 2, via the QualityNet Secure Portal.

Also See: CMS relaxes provisions of meaningful use program for 2018

“The goal of this change is to make it simpler for facilities to report data to CMS,” the agency says. “The EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System will be available for Medicare hospitals. Medicaid-only hospitals should contact their state Medicaid agencies for information on how to attest.”

Further, CMS advises that hospitals attesting for both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs as dually eligible hospitals should register and attest for the Medicare program in the QualityNet Secure Portal and contact their state Medicaid agencies to submit Medicaid attestations.

CMS is moving Medicare hospitals to the QualityNet Secure Portal because most of the hospitals are familiar with the portal; they already use it for secure communications with CMS and for quality data exchange with the agency. Physician practices, nursing homes, ambulatory surgical centers, inpatient psychiatric facilities, end stage renal disease networks and facilities, and data vendors also are among the entities that can use the portal.

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Corrected August 11, 2017 at 4:58PM: “The goal of this change is to make it simpler for facilities to report data to CMS,” the agency says. “The EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System will not be available for Medicare hospitals." An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the legacy attestation system would be available to Medicare hospitals. Medicaid-only hospitals should contact their state Medicaid agencies for information on how to attest.