On July 13, 2010, CMS issued the final rule defining "meaningful use" and establishing the parameters and requirements for eligible professionals, hospitals and other providers to receive incentive payments provided under the HITECH Act for widespread adoption of electronic health records. According to CMS, the key changes included in the final rule (from the meaningful use NPRM published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2010) include:
- Greater flexibility with respect to eligible professionals and hospitals in meeting and reporting certain objectives for demonstrating meaningful use. The final rule divides the objectives into a “core” group of required objectives and a “menu set” of procedures from which providers may choose any five to defer in 2011-2012. This gives providers latitude to pick their own path toward full EHR implementation and meaningful use.
- An objective of providing condition-specific patient education resources for both EPs and eligible hospitals and the objective of recording advance directives for eligible hospitals, in line with recommendations from the Health Information Technology Policy Committee.
- A definition of a hospital-based EP as one who performs substantially all of his or her services in an inpatient hospital setting or emergency room only, which conforms to the Continuing Extension Act of 2010
- CAHs within the definition of acute care hospital for the purpose of incentive program eligibility under Medicaid.
You can view the PDF of the final rule on Meaningful Use by clicking here.
You can learn more about it from the HHS press release by clicking here. Also, the New England Journal of Medicine published an excellent summary by Dr. Blumenthal of the changes included in the final rule; you can find this article by clicking here.
At the same time, ONC issued another final rule, finalizing the "standards and certification criteria for the certification of EHR technology, so eligible professionals and hospitals may be assured that the systems they adopt are capable of performing the required functions." You can find a copy of this final rule by clicking here.
Stay tuned for much more analysis of the final rules published today, as well as the changes to HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules issued by OCR last week.