1. CMS Offers 2nd Extension for EHR Incentive Programs

    CMS has extended the deadline for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to attest to meaningful use for 2014 Medicare EHR incentive programs through December 31, 2014 adding a month to the current deadline. The extension does not impact the deadlines for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.  Healthcare Informatics reports the extension will help provider groups, but will most likely not satisfy industry associations request for action from the federal government “specifically requesting a shortened, 90-day reporting period rather than the current 365-day reporting period for 2015.” 

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  2. CMS Reopens Hardship Exemption Application Period for MU

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reopening the hardship exception application submission period for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals to avoid the 2015 Medicare payment adjustments for not demonstrating meaningful use (MU) of Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT). The new deadline is November 30, 2014. The only circumstances that will be considered for this reopened hardship exception application submission period include:

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  3. Bill Works to Strengthen PDMPs

    The Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act of 2014 (S 2839), recently introduced in the U.S. Senate, includes provisions to strengthen state prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). The legislation would develop, implement, or expand PDMPs to meet certain requirements including mandating registration and consultation by prescribers, removing barriers to inter-state sharing of information, and ensuring real-time updates of information. The bill also includes language to create an inter-agency task force to develop prescribing best practices and enhance prescription drug take back programs.

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  4. DEA Publishes Disposal of Controlled Substances Final Rule

    The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published a final rule outlining procedures for secure disposal of controlled substances by registrants and ultimate users. These regulations implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 by expanding the options available to collect controlled substances from ultimate users for the purpose of disposal. Among the provisions:

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  5. ONC Schedule for Policy Recommendations Published

    The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has published a schedule in the Federal Register for the assessment of policy recommendations developed by the ONC's HIT Policy Committee. The standards and related topics which the HIT Standards Committee is expected to address over the coming year include, but may not be limited to: 

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