Meaningful Use

Meaningful Use

About Meaningful Use

About Meaningful Use

The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide financial incentives for the “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology to improve patient care.

To receive an EHR incentive payment, providers have to show that they are “meaningfully using” their EHRs by meeting thresholds for a number of objectives. CMS has established the objectives for “meaningful use” that eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to receive an incentive payment.

The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are staged in three steps with increasing requirements for participation. All providers begin participating by meeting the Stage 1 requirements for a 90-day period in their first year of meaningful use and a full year in their second year of meaningful use. After meeting the Stage 1 requirements, providers will then have to meet Stage 2 requirements for two full years. Eligible professionals participate in the program on the calendar years, while eligible hospitals and CAHs participate according to the federal fiscal year.

What are the Requirements for Stage 1?

Meaningful use includes both a core set and a menu set of objectives that are specific to eligible professionals or eligible hospitals and CAHs.

For eligible professionals, there are a total of 24 meaningful use objectives. To qualify for an incentive payment, 19 of these 24 objectives must be met:

  • 14 required core objectives
  • 5 objectives chosen from a list of 10 menu set objectives.

For eligible hospitals and CAHs, there are a total of 23 meaningful use objectives. To qualify for an incentive payment, 18 of these 23 objectives must be met:

  • 13 required core objectives
  • 5 objectives chosen from a list of 10 menu set objectives.

CMS provides Meaningful Use Specification Sheets that bring together critical information on each objective to help you understand what you need to do to meet the program requirements.

Each specification sheet covers a single eligible professional core or menu set objective in detail, including information on:

  • Meeting the measure for each objective
  • How to calculate the numerator and denominator for each objective
  • How to qualify for an exclusion to an objective
  • In-depth definitions of terms that clarify objective requirements
  • Requirements for attesting to each measure

What are the Requirements for Stage 2?

On September 4, 2012, CMS published a final rule that specifies the Stage 2 criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to continue to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. All providers must achieve meaningful use under the Stage 1 criteria before moving to Stage 2.

If you want to learn about Stage 1 meaningful use criteria, please click here Meaningful Use. If you have not participated in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs previously, please click here Getting Started to learn how you can take part in the program.

To help providers better understand Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements, CMS developed Stage 2 Meaningful Use Specification Sheets for EPs and Eligible Hospitals that provide detailed information on each Stage 2 objective, including:

  • How to calculate the numerator and denominator
  • How to qualify for an exclusion
  • Definitions of important terms
  • Requirements for achieving the objectives

Reporting on Clinical Quality Measures?

In addition to meeting the core and menu objectives, eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and CAHs are also required to report clinical quality measures.

To learn more about individual clinical quality measures for eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and CAHs, visit our Clinical Quality Measures Page.

Eligible professionals must report on 6 total clinical quality measures:

  • 3 required core measures (or 3 alternate core measures) and 3 additional measures (selected from a set of 38 clinical quality measures).
  • Eligible hospitals and CAHs must report on all 15 of their clinical quality measures.