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CMS and ONC Issue Regulations Proposing a Definition of Meaningful Use and Setting Standards for EHR

01.10.2010

The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) encourage public comment on two regulations issued on December 30, 2009 that lay a foundation for improving quality, efficiency and safety through meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. The regulations will help implement the EHR incentive programs enacted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).

A proposed rule issued by CMS outlines proposed provisions governing the EHR incentive programs, including defining the central concept of “meaningful use” of EHR technology.

An interim final regulation (IFR) issued by ONC sets initial standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for EHR technology.  Both regulations are open to public comment.

The Recovery Act established programs to provide incentive payments to eligible professionals and eligible hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid that adopt and make “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology.  Incentive payments may begin as soon as October 2010 to eligible hospitals.  Incentive payments to other eligible providers may begin in January 2011.