After receiving over 2,500 comments from the public to the proposed rules, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the long – awaited final rules for implementing Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use Program, applicable between 2015-2017. The rules are designed to improve health care through the use of health information technology.

The final rules will be used to transition physicians from the Meaningful Use program into a new merit based payment system. However, the rules do not delay implementation of Stage 3, which many stakeholders had requested.

The final rules include the following:

  • Providers and state Medicaid agencies have until January 1, 2018 to comply
  • Stage 3 will be optional in 2017
  • Stage 3 has 8 objectives, 60% of which will require interoperability
  • Cybersecurity requirements are strengthened
  • The reporting period will be 90 days for all providers in 2015, for new providers in 2016 and 2017, and for any provider transitioning to Stage 3 in 2017

HHS also issued the 2015 edition for certification criteria in conjunction with the final rules.

Comments to the final rules will be open for 60 days.