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CMS Releases Proposed Meaningful Use Criteria

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today a proposed outline for Meaningful Use criteria, in accordance with EMR implementation provisions under the Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. These specify some of the guidelines by which physicians can receive incentives of up to $44,000 per provider, over 5 years, beginning as early as 2011.

Stage 1 criteria (the first of 3 total) would cover 25 meaningful use objectives (and 23 for hospitals). These are listed under modules known as Health Outcomes Policy Priorities such as Improving quality and patient safety (use of drug-allergy interaction checks, use of ePrescribing, maintaining active medication list, etc.), Engaging patients and their families in their health care (e.g., provide patients with a copy of their health information), Improving care coordination (e.g., exchanging key clinical information among authorized entities), Improving population and public health (e.g., capability to submit data to immunization registries), and Ensuring adequate privacy and security for personal health information (through the use of appropriate EMR technology).

The implementation of Stage 1 meaningful use standards would begin in 2011. Stage 2 (which would essentially expand upon certain aspects of Stage 1) and Stage 3 (which would deal with achieving improvements in conditions of a national high-priority nature and population health outcomes) would follow later.

While this certainly doesn’t clear things up completely for the individual physician, every piece of information that trickles down from Washington is eventually analyzed and translated for all parties which have a vested interest in the process. Hopefully, resources such as this can help doctors stay informed and as up-to-date as possible.

If you have any comments or questions, please post them here. If we don’t know the answer we’ll certainly try to find someone who does.

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