ONC, CMS Offer 'Meaningful Use' and EHR Certification Guidance

TOPIC ALERT:

CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT are working to ensure that health care providers know how to participate in the soon-to-be launched incentive program for the "meaningful use" of electronic health records, InformationWeek reports (Guerra, InformationWeek, 7/26).

Last week, CMS and ONC began hosting a series of training sessions to provide clarification on the newly released final rule on meaningful use and the accompanying final rule on EHR certification.

First Session

For the first session, each agency provided an overview of the EHR incentive program, which was established under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package (CMIO, 7/26). The session focused on:

  • Eligibility issues;
  • The relationship between the stimulus package and other government incentive programs; and
  • How the federal government and states will coordinate the Medicare and Medicaid portions of the incentive program.

Eligible Providers at Multiple Locations

Jessica Kahn, technical director for health IT at CMS, also addressed concerns related to eligible health care providers who practice at multiple locations. She said clinicians who work at several locations but do not have access to certified EHRs at each facility must:

  • Have at least 50% of their total patient encounters take place at locations with certified EHR technology; and
  • Base all of their meaningful use objectives only on patient encounters that take place at locations with certified EHRs (InformationWeek, 7/26).

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