‘Meaningful Use’ of Electronic Health Records
The American Reinvestment & Recovery Act (ARRA) was enacted on February 17, 2009. ARRA includes many measures to modernize the US’s infrastructure, including the “Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act”. HITECH promotes the meaningful use of interoperable electronic health records throughout the United States health care delivery system as a critical national goal. Meaningful Use is defined by the use of certified EHR technology in a relevant manner. Meaningful Use, and its associated stimulus revenue, is to be deployed over three (3) stages.
Meaningful Use Stages
- MU1: The core focus of Meaningful Use Stage 1 was the adoption and integration of EHR solutions certified by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) under guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). Attestation for Stage 1 began in 2011.
- MU2: A primary focus of Meaningful Use Stage 2 is the exchange of patient information for the purposes of collaboration, improved speed of care, and ultimately, improved patient outcomes. The Direct Project is a key requirement for this exchange in transitions of care. Attestation for Stage 2 begins with the Federal Fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013).
- MU3: Meaningful Use Stage 3 is expected to focus on improved interaction, data exchange and patient outcomes.
Measuring Meaningful Use
Meaningful Use is measured by Certification and Attestation. To be certified, EHRs must have the functional components that meet the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) requirements for each stage of the Meaningful Use final rules. These rules include functional, statistical, operational, and reporting requirements.
Meaningful Use Eligibility
Eligible providers (EPs) are determined by the percentage of Medicaid or Medicare population serviced, and the type of organization (hospital, clinic, private practice) that they work for. Once eligibility is determined, EPs must use a certified EHR to meet all Meaningful Use requirements as established by the ONC’s final rule. Once the requirements are met, EPs may attest to meeting Meaningful Use. Depending upon total CMS billing and year of attestation, the provider may receive a reimbursement against their CMS billing of up to $67,000 under Medicaid or $44,000 under Medicare. Total reimbursement is paid over a five (5) year period.