CMS has finalized a rule allowing hospitals and eligible professionals more flexibility in how they meet meaningful-use requirements for the electronic health-record incentive program. The rule gives providers a longer timeline and more flexibility in meeting the incentive goals laid out by the stimulus program first created in the 2009 HITECH Act. The rule changes the beginning of the third stage of meaningful use for the first cohort of adopters from January 1, 2016 to January 1, 2017. Additionally, providers struggling with adoption of 2014 certified EHRs will be given more flexibility. The finalized rule has received some criticism from stakeholders who appreciate the flexibility of the rule, but believe it offers little relief.
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