Public Health Objective Specific FAQs

These FAQs are specific to the Public Health Objectives in Meaningful Use.


No, the CDC is not a recipient of data from eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs), and critical access hospitals (CAHs) for MU. For specific information, guidance, and instructions on reporting data to public health agency or registry for any of the public health reporting objectives, EPs, EHs, or CAHs need to contact their state or local public health agency, immunization registry, or cancer registry.  CMS provides this guidance in CMS FAQ#3605external icon.

Many jurisdictions provide Meaningful Use webpages with points of contact for, and information relevant to, Meaningful Use. There is listing with links to some of the jurisdiction Meaningful Use website available at:

No, an EP/EH/CAH does not need to have a live interface with or be submitting data to a public health agency on the first day of their EHR reporting period. The Stage 2 CMS regulations allow eligible providers to satisfy a public health measure by meeting any one of four following criteria under the umbrella of ongoing submission. The general public health criteria are:

  • Ongoing submission was already achieved for an EHR reporting period in a prior year and continues throughout the current EHR reporting period.
  • Registration with the public health agency or other body to whom the information is being submitted of intent to initiate ongoing submission was made by the deadline (within 60 days of the start of the EHR reporting period) and ongoing submission was achieved.
  • Registration of intent to initiate ongoing submission was made by the deadline and the EP or hospital is still engaged in testing and validation of ongoing electronic submission.
  • Registration of intent to initiate ongoing submission was made by the deadline and the EP or hospital is awaiting invitation to begin testing and validation.

The Stage 2 regulations also state:

The measure will not be met if the provider—

  • Fails to register their intent by the deadline; or
  • Fails to participate in the on-boarding process as demonstrated by failure to respond to the PHA written requests for action within 30 days on two separate occasions.

Syndromic Surveillance

The answer will depend upon the public health agency and the jurisdictional reporting requirements and applicable laws. The EPs need to contact their state or local public health agency for information and instructions on submitting syndromic surveillance information to public health.  The public health agency should provide information on whether it is accepting submission of syndromic surveillance data from EPs and if so, the types of EPs that it is accepting reporting from, and also provide guidance on the syndromic surveillance data that EPs are expected to report.  Based on the information from the public health agency, the EP should be able to determine if they can select the syndromic surveillance objective or whether they meet an exclusion.

Syndromic surveillance emphasizes the use of data that is available before a confirmed diagnosis (e.g., patient’s chief complaint/reason for visit) to identify health events.   In meaningful use, an eligible professional (EP) could collect syndromic surveillance information based on their jurisdiction’s applicable laws and practices. The following CMS FAQ provides information about syndromic surveillance data: icon.


Specialized Registry

For Specialized Registries Maintained by Public Health Agencies (PHA):

EPs should contact their state or local public health department for information and instructions on submitting data for the public health related objectives, including specialized registries (See CMS FAQ #3605 icon).


The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) has composed a list of state specific Stage 2 Public Health reporting readiness based on information from PHA websites at: icon. This listing may assist you in finding information on PHAs’ capacity to accept data for the MU Stage 2 specialized registry objective.  Please note, the listing provided by APHL is provided for information purposes only. Providers still need to check with the PHA, to which they would report data, to determine the PHA’s actual capacity given the provider’s EHR reporting period.

Unfortunately, at this time there is not an available listing of specialized registries sponsored by national societies that are accepting data from EPs for Meaningful Use. The EPs would need to check with the national specialty/medical societies covering the EP’s scope of practice.

Page last reviewed: March 18, 2015