Leading the way to Meaningful Use

MAeHC brings its expertise to Regional Extension Centers (RECs) so they can help providers quickly achieve Meaningful Use (MU). We operate the REC for the state of New Hampshire and provide services to several other states including MA, NY and RI.

We also provide training and consulting services for primary care providers and critical access hospitals in the states we serve. We work closely with electronic health record (EHR) vendors and have a deep understanding of the criteria for Meaningful Use, including how workflows and applications need to be tailored to meet those criteria.

Stages of Meaningful Use

Meaningful use is divided into three stages, each representing a step towards increased utilization and optimization of Certified EHR technology.

  • 1Stage 1Data capture & sharing
  • 2Stage 2Advance clinical processes
  • 3Stage 3Improved outcomes


What is Meaningful Use?

Simply put, “meaningful use” means that providers demonstrate they are using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured in quality and in quantity.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) (Pub.L. 111–5) specifies three main components of meaningful use:

  • The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner
  • The electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of healthcare
  • The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures

Who is eligible for Meaningful Use?

There are two programs in which eligible professionals (EPs) can participate; the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, or the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

For more information on eligibility and payment schedules visit our Meaningful Use eligibility page.

What are the Proposed Changes for Meaningful Use in 2015?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) have proposed changes to meaningful use in the 2015 to 2017 reporting time frame.

The proposed rule changes the program by:

  • Streamlining reporting by removing redundant, duplicative and topped-out measures
  • Modifying  Stage 2 objectives related to patient engagement
  • Aligning the EHR reporting period for eligible hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) with the  calendar year instead of fiscal year
  • Changing the EHR reporting period in 2015 to a 90-day period to accommodate modifications

The new proposed rule may be viewed online.  A fact sheet about the 2015 NPRM is also available.  More information on the comment period for this proposed rule will be available soon.

When Will Stage 3 Begin?

CMS has announced a new timeline for Meaningful Use Stage 3’s expected start date. The CMS Stage 3 meaningful use proposed rule would allow providers the option to start Stage 3 of meaningful use in either 2017 for 2018 (required in 2018), which gives providers an extra year to start than under current regulations. Highlights of the proposed rule include:

  • Simplifying Meaningful Use objectives and measures that would fit in their own population or practice
  • Reducing the overall number of objectives to 8
  • Removing measures that are redundant or received widespread
  • Aligning clinical quality measures with other CMS programs

What are the “Clinical Quality Measures?”

Eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs must report Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) in order to qualify for incentive payments under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs and avoid downward payment adjustments under Medicare.  In the proposed rule-making, CMS intends to further support alignment between EHR incentive programs  and other CMS quality reporting programs, and encourage CQM data submission through electronic submission for Medicare participants in 2017, and to require electronic submission of CQMs, where feasible, beginning in 2018 for Medicare providers demonstrating Meaningful Use.