In 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) established the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs to encourage Eligible Professionals (EPs), Eligible Hospitals, and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to adopt, implement, upgrade (AIU), and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology (CEHRT).
The EHR Incentive Programs consist of three stages:
- Stage 1 set the foundation for the EHR Incentive Programs by establishing requirements for the electronic capture of clinical data, including providing patients with electronic copies of health information.
- Stage 2 expanded upon the Stage 1 criteria with a focus on advancing clinical processes and ensuring the continuous quality improvement at the point of care and the exchange of information in the most structured format possible.
- In October 2015, CMS released a final rule that modified Stage 2 to ease reporting requirements and align with other quality reporting programs. The final rule also established Stage 3 in 2017 and beyond, which focuses on using CEHRT to improve health outcomes.
NOTE: The Medicare EHR Incentive Program for returning eligible professionals (EPs) ended with the 2016 reporting period. Starting in 2017, Medicare eligible clinicians will report to the Quality Payment Program .
Information on the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program for Eligible Professionals can be at CMS.gov