Federal legislation has modified the definition of “hospital-based physician” to make a much greater number of doctors eligible for meaningful use reimbursements under the HITECH Act.
As the Health Information and Management Systems Society’s Government Health IT notes, the HITECH Act itself limits eligibility for reimbursements to physicians working in an inpatient or outpatient setting. The Continuing Extension Act of 2010, signed into law by President Barack Obama last week, however, amends that wording to read “inpatient or emergency room setting”.
Hospital-based physicians initially were excluded from the HITECH Act on the assumption that they benefited from the hospital’s electronic health record systems, not necessarily their own. This omission did not go unnoticed, as HIMSS and other organizations told the federal government to recognize hospital-based physicians. Their newfound eligibility for HITECH Act reimbursement is certainly welcome.