KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Administration Releases New Health IT ‘Meaningful Use’ Rules

Officials with the Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services published the second stage of "meaningful-use" rules for adoption of electronic medical records Thursday, laying out requirements for better digital communication among doctors and expanded patient access to records, in order for doctors and hospitals to get incentive payments.

Modern Healthcare: Proposed Stage 2 Requirements Raise The Bar For Providers
The proposed Stage 2 meaningful-use requirements raise the bar for hospitals and eligible professionals on the use of computerized physician order entry, electronic prescribing and electronic recording of several patient-health measures, according to CMS officials. ... Under the proposed Stage 2 standards, hospitals as well as eligible professionals — the latter category includes physicians not employed by hospitals — would have to use CPOE for more than 60 percent of medication, laboratory and radiology orders, double the share required under the Stage 1 standards (Grace, 2/23).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Health IT Coordinator: Release Of Stage 2 Guidelines A 'Push Ahead'
It's time to take electronic health records to the next level. Federal officials on Thursday released their second-stage guidelines for "meaningful use" of electronic records, which advocates say have the potential to reduce medical errors and streamline care. The proposed rules require doctors and hospitals to significantly step up their usage, as well as better engage patients and improve the transferability of records (Torres, 2/24).

Politico Pro: 'Meaningful Use' Rule Released After Delay
The delayed rule for Stage 2 of the government's program to expand the use of electronic medical records was released Thursday, proposing an expanded emphasis to online patient access and better digital communication among doctors caring for a patient. A second, technical rule that will describe what standards an electronic health record system must meet in order to be certified has not yet been released, but is expected to follow soon. Much in the rule follows the recommendations from an advisory panel on the second phase of the program, which will take effect in 2014, a year later than initially planned (Norman and DoBias, 2/23).

Medscape: New Meaningful-Use Rules Stress Online Contact With Patients 
Last year, CMS began awarding bonuses under Medicare and Medicaid to physicians who meet an initial set of meaningful-use requirements designed to improve the quality of care. There are currently 25 Stage 1 objectives, 15 mandatory and 10 elective. The mandatory ones include electronically prescribing more than 40 percent of prescriptions and recording demographic information such as date of birth, sex, and race as structured data for more than 50 percent of patients seen. Physicians must satisfy any 5 of the 10 elective requirements (Lowes, 2/23).

Bloomberg: Hospitals Face Added Tests To Access $14.6 Billion for Digital Health Data
Hospitals would have to show they've amassed the vital statistics of more than 80 percent of their patients in digital form, among other targets, to continue collecting as much as $14.6 billion in federal grants for installing electronic records technology sold by General Electric Co. (GE) and smaller suppliers. Awards of as much as $11.5 million are available to hospitals that demonstrate "meaningful use" of the equipment, under preliminary rules issued yesterday by the Obama administration. Doctors can apply for grants of $44,000 or $64,000, depending on whether they treat patients in Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, or Medicaid, the program for the poor (Wayne, 2/24).

Medpage Today: Feds Finalize Next Stage of 'Meaningful Use' Guidelines
Providers must prove their EHR system is capable of meeting a list of specific objectives outlined by CMS, such as having the capability of exchanging a patient's notes, medication list, allergies, and diagnostic test results. ... The federal government will provide incentive payments of up to $44,000 per clinician (Walker, 2/23). 

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