Health care providers will have an extra year to use 2011 edition software in their electronic health record systems to meet meaningful use requirements for Medicare's EHR Incentive Program, according to a proposed rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Modern Healthcare reported. Eligible professionals trying to meet the program's Stage 1 meaningful-use criteria can continue to use 2011 Edition software under the proposal, Modern Healthcare reported.

"Many EHR vendors have indicated, through letters to CMS, public forums and listening sessions, survey data, and information related to the certification and testing process, that the amount of time available after the publication of the Stage 2 final rule in which to make the required coding changes to enable their EHR products to be certified to the 2014 Edition of EHR certification criteria was much too short," the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in an announcement.

"We understand, based on information gained from EHR technology developers and ONC-Authorized Certification Bodies on timing, backlogs, and the certification case load, many EHR products were certified later than anticipated, which has impacted the corresponding time available to providers—especially hospitals—to effectively deploy 2014 Edition CEHRT and to make the necessary patient safety, staff training, and workflow investments in order to be prepared to demonstrate meaningful use in 2014."

Read the full CMS proposal.