On December 6, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced an extension of the timeline for Meaningful Use Stage 3. Stage 3, which was initially targeted to begin in 2016, will now begin in 2017. This gives vendors and providers an additional year to get ready for the Stage 3 criteria.

The diagram above provides a graphic of the stage timelines for providers. For those providers on track to begin Stage 3 in 2016, they will instead do a third year of Stage 2 in 2016. For providers who started Meaningful Use in 2013 or later, their schedule will remain unchanged and they will continue to attest for two years at each stage.

In addition, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) announced that they plan to publish a 2015 Edition of certification criteria which will improve on the 2014 Edition certification criteria. This is a deviation from how the certification criteria was handled in Stage 1. For Stage 1, there was only one edition of the certification criteria, which was the 2011 Edition. However, for Stage 2, it appears there will be a new edition of the certification criteria every year.

The intent is to keep the communication channels active between the ONC and the developing community. However the 2015 edition of the certification would be voluntary for those vendors which have passed the 2014 edition, as the 2014 Edition will remain the baseline certification criteria edition for meeting the Certified EHR Technology definition.

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