Regulations to clear way for electronic health record adoption

Share this content:

The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed new regulations that would eliminate some legal obstacles in the adoption of e-prescribing and electronic health records in healthcare facilities, including nursing homes.

A new regulatory proposal from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services would create exceptions to the "physician self-referral law" that prohibits physicians in Medicare from referring Medicare patients to health entities with which the physician has a financial relationship.

The new proposals would allow hospitals and certain healthcare organizations to furnish hardware, software and related training services to physicians for e-prescribing and electronic health records.

Also proposed by the HHS' Office of Inspector General were safe harbors for arrangements involving the donation of technology for e-prescribing and electronic health records.

While restrictions on relationships between physicians and other healthcare entities are important in the realm of Medicare spending, "They were never intended to stand in the way of bringing effective electronic healthcare to patients," CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said.