Health Care Providers Concerned About 'Meaningful Use' Regulation

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It's been nearly a year since the HITECH Act and its stimulus dollars for electronic medical records technology were introduced to the health care community. That's plenty of time for stakeholders to digest and come to terms with all the requirements attached to those funds, right? Well, not really, since the Department of Health and Human Services didn't release its proposed "meaningful use" standard until December. But they have had time to form a few opinions.


In an InformationWeek piece, healthsystemCIO.com founder Anthony Guerra says health care facilities and physicians have serious concerns about the proposed regulation, and they're hoping the final version that emerges after the public comment period will be significantly different.


One thing that concerns them, Guerra says, is that the standard eliminates hospital-based doctors from eligibility. He writes:

Hospitals, critics say, will have less incentive to help these doctors -- by some counts almost 30 percent of physicians, including radiologists, pathologists, hospitalists and emergency department physicians -- in their electronic journey.


Most concerning, though, is that those who are working to earn the incentives must meet all the requirements before they are eligible for any part of the money. "They get no 'E' for effort," Guerra says. More specifically, he writes:

Providers must install a yet-to-be-defined certified e-health record system, meet all Meaningful Use objectives, and report all 23 physician or 25 hospital measures (many of which are completely new) to get any payout.


The public may comment on the proposed regulation until March 15.