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Meaningful Use Push for Rural Hospitals is On

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 3, 2012

Officials with the Office of the National Coordinator have issued an "all hands on deck" call to accelerate meaningful use certification for more than 1,000 small rural hospitals by the end of 2014.

ONC's Mat Kendall, director, Office of Provider Adoption Support, and Leila Samy, Rural Health IT Coordinator made the call in a blog post last week, and announced that ONC will provide up to $30 million in supplemental for Regional Extension Centers to make it happen.

"We need everyone rowing in sync," Kendall and Samy wrote, "including leadership and staff in every critical access and rural hospital, EHR vendors, hospital associations, and state offices of rural health in every state, Rural Health IT Network Development grantees, ONC grantees, and many more public and private, Federal and local partners."

The federal government is finally applying nautical metaphors to problems with meaningful use attestation that rural healthcare providers and advocates have complained about for months — namely that smaller rural hospitals have been given short shrift in the move to meaningful use.

Kendall and Samy enthusiastically note that more than 1,220 critical access hospitals and rural hospitals have enrolled with an REC for assistance with meaningful use attestation.

"This is great news because it provides data supporting the anecdotal evidence that Critical Access Hospitals and rural hospitals along with the clinicians working in these hospitals recognize the value of health IT and want to offer their communities healthcare services powered by the benefits of meaningfully using certified EHRs," they write.

No kidding!

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