Officials with American Hospital Association urged the Health Information Technology Standards Committee to reconsider its proposed definition of “meaningful use” in the context of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The stimulus bill made more than $17 billion available to hospitals and physicians to purchase health IT systems, but said healthcare providers must show they've put the new technology to “meaningful use” in order to qualify for the funds. Since the bill did not define the term, the Health Information Technology Standards Committee has become one of two federal groups left to advise HHS on what it means.
Beth Feldpush, a senior associate director of policy with the AHA, told the committee Tuesday that the association believes meaningful use should be defined by the ability to use the systems to improve patient care, an AHA publication said. Yet Feldpush said many of the proposed metrics to measure the usage would not take that into account.
Lawrence Hughes, assistant general counsel with the AHA, also told the committee that its recommendations would change medical-data privacy restrictions contained in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 by mandating a uniform set of requirements for certain aspects of HIPAA compliance, the AHA publication said. Current regulations allow HIPAA-covered entities to assess on their own whether certain security specifications are reasonable and appropriate.