Public Health Objective Specific FAQs

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

General

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is not a direct recipient of data from healthcare providers, the Eligible Professionals (EPs) or Eligible Clinicians (ECs), the Eligible Hospitals (EHs), or Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) for the Interoperability Programs (formerly known as Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Meaningful Use (MU) Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs). Per Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), healthcare providers should contact their state or local public health department for information and instructions on submitting data for the public health related objective and measures. However, the CDC does offer the option for healthcare providers to submit data to the National Health Care Surveys and Antimicrobial Use and Antimicrobial Resistance (AUR) reporting, under the public health registry reporting measure. Fore more details, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/ehrmeaningfuluse/public_health_option.html

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: https://questions.cms.gov/faq.php?id=5005&faqId=3615external icon.

Cancer

Specialized Registry

Healthcare professionals should contact their jurisdictional public health agency for information and instructions on submitting data for the public health registry measure under the promoting interoperability and related programs. More details are available at https://www.cdc.gov/ehrmeaningfuluse/public_health_option.html

Page last reviewed: October 30, 2019