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HHS unveils meaningful use plan

Wall Street Journal Health Blog, December 31, 2009

In February, the stimulus bill that Congress passed announced that doctors and hospitals that make "meaningful use" of electronic medical records would get big bonus payments from Medicare and Medicaid. Now, HHS has released a 556-page proposed rule that lays out what doctors and hospitals will have to do to qualify for the money. The requirements include: Filing prescriptions and submit insurance claims electronically; giving patients electronic access to their health information; using computerized systems to enter at least some of doctors' and nurses' orders; track patients' medications electronically; and recording vital signs and lab test results electronically. The stimulus bill specified that incentive payments—which can top more than $40,000 for a single doctor over several years and could total more than $20 billion nationwide—would be tied to meaningful use of certified systems.