HHS announces Final Rule on Meaningful Use

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

July 14, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday its Final Rule on Meaningful Use. The rule, intended to spell out exactly what will constitute healthcare parties' appropriate use of electronic health records, has been anticipated since the proposed rule was released in January. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, and newly named CMS Administrator Don Berwick were on hand to make the announcement.

The Final Rule stipulates that those entities that are considered meaningful users in 2011 and 2012 will receive incentive payments. Based on comments concerning the proposed rule, HHS decreased the number of objectives that hospitals and physicians must meet. They have also divided the objectives into two sets: a core set, of which all must be met, and a menu set, of which five out of ten must be met. This addressed the concerns of many in the industry, who were worried the Final Rule would take an all-or-nothing approach.

The Meaningful Use requirements are a stipulation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) of 2009. The act provides funding for the adoption of electronic health records.

To find more about the final rule, click here to see an explanation from its creators in the New England Journal of Medicine.