The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT recently posted a set of answers to 20 frequently asked questions about its incentive program for the "meaningful use" of electronic health records, Government Health IT reports.
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs will qualify for incentive payments (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 9/24).
The questions were based on inquiries from health care providers and health IT vendors seeking to participate in the meaningful use program. Many of the questions relate to the process for certifying EHRs (Carlson, Modern Healthcare, 9/24).
FAQs in Detail
In the FAQs, ONC said it would correct an error related to specifications for using EHRs to record and submit public health surveillance information. ONC said the specifications are designed for public health agencies, not EHR users (Goedert, Health Data Management, 9/24).
One question asks whether a health care provider could seek certification for an early version of an EHR that a vendor did not intend to submit for certification. ONC said the health care provider could seek the certification but would need to cover its cost.
Another scenario asks whether a vendor would need to seek certification for an EHR module if the complete EHR already is certified. ONC said the module also would need to obtain certification.
CMS plans to open registration for the meaningful use incentive program in January.
By May 2011, qualifying hospitals and physicians could begin receiving the first set of incentive payments (Government Health IT, 9/24).