The American Hospital Association says the regulations proposed by federal administrators to use stimulus payments to encourage widespread adoption of electronic health-record systems may actually discourage many providers from even trying to use the technology.
The government's proposed list of 23 measures to demonstrate so-called “meaningful use” of EHR systems is so daunting that even hospitals that already have long-established systems may not qualify for stimulus payments because regulators have proposed hospitals meet every criteria before they become eligible to receive the federal grants, according to the AHA.
“CMS' 23 hospital objectives describe a comprehensive EHR system with capabilities that are currently beyond even many of the most advanced EHR systems in use today. In fact, the proposed objectives describe an EHR system that is beyond the capabilities of any vendor product currently available in the marketplace,” AHA Executive Vice President Richard Pollack said in a March 8 letter to CMS acting Administrator Charlene Frizzera.
The EHR stimulus program is set to begin in eight months, but regulators are still in the rulemaking process. The AHA is urging the CMS to abandon what it called the “all or nothing” approach to the meaningful-use criteria, and instead let hospitals use a more gradual evolution where they would have to meet only 25% of the criteria in the first year and then increase percentages of the requirements in future years.