In September, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Congressman Jim Matheson introduced H.R. 5481 — the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting Act of 2014 (“Flex-IT Act”). This legislation would provide a three-month reporting period, instead of a full year reporting period, for demonstrating meaningful use in the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Payment Program in 2015.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) currently requires most EHR users (professionals and hospitals) to comply with Stage 1 or Stage 2 objectives and criteria (as applicable) for the full year in 2015. For 2014, CMS regulations allowed users to comply by demonstrating only 90 days of compliance, but the agency did not extend that flexibility to 2015. As 2015 approaches, there has been increasing industry concern about the feasibility of meeting the full-year compliance requirement in 2015.
H.R. 5481 would require that CMS, for 2015, “permit the use of a 3-month quarter EHR reporting period to demonstrate meaningful use,” instead of requiring EHR users to demonstrate compliance for the full year. The legislation would apply to both the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs, and it would apply without regard to the user’s payment year or stage of meaningful use compliance.
In addition to Congresswoman Ellmers and Congressman Matheson, H.R. 5481 has four cosponsors.