U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Releases the Final Rule on “Meaningful Use” of Electronic Health Records

On July 13, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the long-awaited final rule on what constitutes “meaningful use” of an electronic health records (EHR) under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. With the release of the final rule, healthcare providers now have a clearer picture of the requirements they must satisfy in order to earn substantial incentives under the HITECH Act.

The Act, which was implemented as part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), provides incentive bonuses in excess of $44,000 for physicians that are able to show “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology. Providers that fail to successfully implement EHRs in their offices will eventually become subject to penalties under the Act.

The final rule differs from the proposed rule issued last January in that it allows providers more flexibility in choosing which measures to utilize in order to meet “meaningful use” requirements. Under the final rule, physicians are required to comply with a set of 15 core objectives during the first year (or Stage 1) of adoption. Hospitals are required to comply with 14 core objectives during Stage 1. During Stage 2 of adoption, both physicians and hospitals will have to choose 5 more objectives from a selection of 10 in order to achieve “meaningful use.” The final rule also reduced the number of electronic prescriptions a physician is required to make from 75% to 40%.

MTBC will continue to work closely with our clients to ensure that they are using MTBC EMR 4.0 in a manner that will qualify them for the bonuses available under the HITECH Act. We will also offer clients a free webinar that will provide a comprehensive overview of the “meaningful use” requirements as they are defined under the final rule. The webinar will be presented by Muhammad Chebli, Vice President of Information Technology, on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. If you are interested in attending, please register by clicking here.

The webinar will be offered as a continuation of MTBC’s free, EHR-focused webinar series.

The final rule on “meaningful use” can be accessed online at http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2010-17207_PI.pdf.