Federal government releases 'meaningful use' rules for healthcare IT

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Federal government releases 'meaningful use' rules for healthcare IT
Federal government releases 'meaningful use' rules for healthcare IT

The Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday disclosed two final rules regarding the "meaningful use" of electronic health records (EHR).

One of the two regulations issued Tuesday defines the "meaningful use" objectives that providers must meet to qualify for bonus payments created under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. The other regulation identifies the technical capabilities required for certified EHR technology.

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. The agency expects that as much as $27 billion in incentives will be paid out over the next 10 years.

One rule finalizes a proposal made by CMS in January of this year, and reflects comments made by stakeholders during the interim. Both rules divide the requirements into a "core" group of requirements that must be met, plus an additional "menu" of procedures from which providers may choose, according to CMS.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, who was sworn into his new position Monday, announced the new rules. Fact sheets and other information about the new rules are available online here and here