Providers ask Sebelius for meaningful use clarifications on electronic health records

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Healthcare provider organizations are asking the Department of Health and Human Services for guidance on implementing electronic health records under Medicare and Medicaid's “meaningful use program.”

The organizations, which include the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and various IT stakeholders, sent Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a letter on June 16 that chronicled EHR challenges. Sebelius had asked the healthcare community to propose regulatory or legislative changes for the program in February, the Bureau of National Affairs reported.

The providers wrote that because of the challenging implementation timeline providers face, more educational efforts are needed. Specifically, they asked the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services to streamline the registration and attestation processes, as well as allow additional time for eligible providers and hospitals to attest for a particular year, according to BNA.

In terms of centralizing resources and information, the group had several recommendations. It asked HHS to create a dedicated website that is the singular source for CMS' meaningful use and Office of National Coordinator's Electronic Health Records programs. A checklist is needed to highlight steps eligible providers should take and needs to include links to resources from the Health Information Technology Resource Center, the group wrote. Among other requests, the provider groups wants HHS to establish a new process for managing updates for clinical quality measures, including release notes so users can easily identify what has been updated in the quality measure specifications, BNA reported.