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More Money and Flexibility for Meaningful Use Implementations

“The use of electronic health records has the potential to revolutionize patient care,” R-Tennessee Senator Mike Enzi said in late October, “But if we want electronic health records to work for providers and patients, we have to provide relief from unrealistic and burdensome requirements and build flexibility within the program.”

Six senators feel strongly about MU flexibility and gathered last week to discuss the Electronic Health Record Meaningful Use Program. This bill would include a shortened reporting period for eligible physicians and hospitals from 365 to 90 days, changing the all-or-nothing rules that have left many out of incentive payments if they only meet one of the objectives, and giving providers flexibility when filing for hardship exceptions from MU requirements for 2017 through 2019.

According to HDM, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives fully supports this proposed legislation.

This would be a great leap forward. According to the American Hospital Association, MU costs and post-acute care (PAC) is costing providers nearly $39 billion a year. Broken down, an average sized hospital will spend about $760k annually to comply with MU administrative requirements, an average of $7.6 million to meet federal regulations – nearly $1200 per admitted patient.

According to Michael Williams CEO, at Global Healthcare IT, Inc. “This flexibility will increase participation and reduce the burden on providers.  This is a win-win situation for both the providers and government”.  This shift in attitude represents a bi-partisan understanding that implementing, and adoption of healthcare information technology systems is a complex, and expensive thing to achieve.  Then adding layer upon layer of arduous government regulations through MU increases the costs, and risks to all concerned.  The new proposal promotes a little more give and take in the roll out of MU, generating enough space for a significantly larger number of hospitals and physicians groups to be persuaded to join in on what could be a hugely beneficial program for the Feds and the providers (in terms of improved availability of patient data).

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