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House members seek revision of meaningful use requirements

Earlier this week, more than 200 members of Congress submitted a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) urging them to modify the meaningful use requirements proposed late last year by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Policy.

The letter expresses concern that the requirements for achieving meaningful use will be “too much, too soon” for most hospitals, and goes on to suggest that “[t]he rule should be altered to recognize a practical, staged approach to EHR [electronic health record] adoption that rewards the efforts already under way in America’s hospitals.”

This idea of giving “partial credit” to providers who meet a certain percentage of the requirements, while encouraging a phased approach to implementation, is echoed in the commentary provided by a number of health organizations, including the Health Information and Management Systems Society, the American Hospital Association and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

The members of Congress also suggest that CMS revise its definition of an “eligible provider,” which they say is currently too broad and will preclude a number of providers and individual hospital campuses from being eligible to receive EHR incentive funds.

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