The CMS and HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued their much-anticipated final meaningful-use information technology regulations that hospitals and physicians must follow to tap into some $27.3 billion in financial incentives authorized by the stimulus act.
The rule gives providers something to cheer. The CMS backed away from a controversial all-or-nothing rule requiring physicians to meet a list of 25 criteria and hospitals a list of 23 criteria to be eligible to receive a subsidy for electronic health-records systems. Instead, hospitals must meet 19 criteria and physicians 20 under a formula that includes 15 mandatory quality measures for doctors and 14 for hospitals with a choice of five others from a 10-item “menu.”
“While challenges remain, the final rule provides a better approach to the ‘real-world' issues faced by practices as they move toward 'meaningful use' of EHRs,” said William Jessee, president and CEO of the Medical Group Management Association, in a news release.
“After reviewing the comments, we agree that requiring that (eligible professionals), eligible hospitals, and (critical-access hospitals) satisfy all of the objectives and their associated measures in order to be considered a meaningful EHR user would impose too great a burden and would result in an unacceptably low number of EPs, eligible hospitals, and CAHs being able to qualify as meaningful EHR users in the first two years of the program,” the rule states.