AHA asks Sebelius to scale back meaningful use requirements

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In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the American Hospital Association said it has found that hospitals have significantly less flexibility when it comes to demonstrating "meaningful use" of electronic medical records.

"The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology requires hospitals to have in place EHRs that have been certified against all 24 objectives of meaningful use, not just the 19 that the CMS rule requires them to use to demonstrate meaningful use," according to the AHA. Healthcare providers can receive as much as $44,000 through Medicare and $63,750 through Medicaid for implementation and meaningful use of certified EHRs, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in July.

"AHA continues to believe that hospitals should be required to have EHR technology certified against only those objectives they will use to demonstrate meaningful use, so that they can exercise the flexibility CMS offered in its final rule," the association noted in its letter. "In looking carefully at the regulatory text in both the ONC and CMS final rules, the AHA believes that there are alternative interpretations of the existing regulations that address this problem."
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