More than 2,000 comments from physicians and hospitals appeared to have made a difference.
After considering feedback, the federal government announced July 13 the final rules for determining “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs), which must be achieved to qualify for incentive bonuses.
The new rules are a bit easier than the first round in January. Many called the preliminary rules difficult and unattainable for a majority of physician practices and hospitals. As a result, the initial requirement that called for physicians to reach 25 objectives in Stage 1 was reduced to 20 in the final rules. There are 15 mandatory objectives and another five physicians can select from a menu of 10.
In the same announcement, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius laid out the technical steps required for EHR technology to achieve the appropriate certification.
Also, HHS further defined “hospital-based” eligible professional as “one who performs substantially all of his or her services in an inpatient hospital setting or emergency room only.” Hospital-based physicians are ineligible for the incentive payment.
The AMA and others are still reviewing the regulations; watch future ISMA Reports for more on this topic. In the meantime, you can find the rules here.
Also, read an HHS press release with links to several fact sheets here.
Learn more in September session
Want to be sure you achieve meaningful use of electronic health records and qualify for an incentive bonus? Mark your calendar for Friday, Sept. 24, and attend the ISMA’s CME session “EHRs: Getting to the meaning of meaningful use” from 1 to 3 p.m., on the opening day of the 161st ISMA Annual Convention.
Find out more on the ISMA convention page.