On Wednesday, Feb. 22, federal officials are scheduled to discuss the Stage 2 electronic health records meaningful use proposed rule, and they hope the rule is available that morning, Robert Anthony, a CMS policy analyst, confirms to Health Data Management.

The session, Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs: Meaningful Use Stage 2 NPRM Overview, is scheduled at 9:45 a.m. in room San Polo 3503. At 2:15 p.m. in the same room, National HIT Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, M.D., will lead a town hall presentation, and then he’ll give the keynote speech on Feb. 23 at 8:30 a.m.

Under a “quiet period” that restricts what officials can say about a rule until it is released, Anthony and Steven Posnack, director of ONC’s federal policy division, struggled to give new information to attendees of HIMSS’ Meaningful Use symposium. Anthony laid out multiple recommendations for Stage 2 from the HIT Policy Committee, a strong indication--but not confirmation--that these recommendations made it into the rule. They include:

* Stage 1 menu objectives become additional core objectives in Stage 2, with some new menu objectives added;

* The percentage of orders entered via CPOE rises from 30 percent to 60 percent and includes medications, labs and radiology;

* E-prescribing in the emergency department moves from 40 percent to 60 percent;

* Recording objectives, such as problem lists, vitals and smoking status increase from 50 percent to 80 percent; and

* Secure patient messaging online for eligible providers, recording of family history and e-prescribing of discharge medications for hospitals become new objectives, among others.

The Stage 2 proposed rule will have a 60-day public comment period, and officials reiterated a desire to have the final rule out in the summer of 2012. Anthony cautioned that it is as important to comment on aspects of a rule that an organization agrees with, as well as what it would like changed and why.

What the government often hears far more than what it did right is what it did wrong, he says, and that can result in proposals for Stage 2 requirements that have good support not making it into the final rule. “The squeaky wheel may tip the balance.”

 

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