Stages 1, 2, And Now 3, Meaningful Use Criteria

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) proposed Meaningful Use criteria to implement Stage 3 and allow eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (“CAHs”) to qualify for incentive payments (or avoid downward payment adjustments) under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program implemented by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act of 2009. stethoscope, keyboardThen CMS made changes to Stage 1 and Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria to better align with the proposed Stage 3 criteria just two weeks later.

On March 30, 2015, CMS published a long-awaited proposed rule which, if finalized, would implement Stage 3, making changes to the objectives and measures of meaningful use for providers effective in Continue reading

HHS Announces Dramatic Increase in Adoption of Electronic Health Records

Doctors Using EHROn May 22, 2013, Kathleen Sebelius,  Secretary of the United States Health & Human Services Department, announced that over 50 percent of doctors and over 80 percent of hospitals are making a “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs) and have received incentives for such use.   By comparison, in 2008, just nine percent had adopted EHRs.  Secretary Sebelius credits the “dramatic increase” in adoption of EHRs to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) that was passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  The HITECH Act awards incentives to eligible professionals (physicians) and hospitals who make a “meaningful use” of EHR technology that has been certified by the HHS Office of National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC).  The HHS press release with further information is available here.

The Ball is Now in Play to Extend the EHR Safe Harbor!

By Ann F. Triebsch and Kathie McDonald-McClure

clip_image002Barely two weeks after Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash) sent a letter to the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) requesting that the Anti-Kickback Statute’s “safe harbor” allowing hospitals to donate electronic health record (EHR) items and services to physicians be extended, the OIG has proposed a rule to do exactly that.  On April 10, 2013, the OIG proposed a rule to extend the Anti-Kickback Statute safe harbor from December 31, 2013, to December 31, 2016.  On the same date, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a complementary rule to extend the Stark Law’s similar EHR exception to December 31, 2016.

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House Calls for Suspension of EHR Incentive Payments under HITECH Act

Hands on keyboard in circleOn Thursday, October 4, 2012, in a letter to Secretary Sebelius of the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the United States House GOP called on HHS to suspend incentive payments for the adoption and implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) otherwise authorized under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act).  The GOP also asked HHS to delay the imposition of penalties on providers who choose not to use EHRs in their practice (such penalties that pursuant to the HITECH Act provisions are to take the form of reductions in Medicare reimbursements in 2015).  Continue reading

Proposed Federal Regulation Requires HIPAA-Covered Labs to Release Test Results to Patients

On September 12, 2011, the Office of National Coordinator (ONC) for the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced a Proposed Rule that will enable direct access to laboratory test results by patients.  Under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), laboratories must hold a CLIA certificate in order to perform one of three levels of complex laboratory tests regulated by CLIA.  Even before the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), concerns have been expressed regarding the lack of clarity under state law, and the literal prohibition in some states, regarding whether a CLIA laboratory that is independent (as opposed to hospital based) may release laboratory test results directly to a patient.   Continue reading