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HHS Meaningful Use Final Rule Draws Guarded Initial Praise

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 13, 2010

"Improvements sought by MGMA" contained in the final rule included a reduction in the originally unrealistic thresholds related to e-prescribing, administrative transactions and computerized physician order entry, among others," he said.

Jessee said MGMA will continue to work closely with the federal government "to incorporate additional changes related to implementation of the incentive program to allow the greatest number of practices to achieve widespread meaningful use of EHRs."

Blumenthal and Tavenner said the meaningful use rule must be achievable and ambitious and "strike a balance between acknowledging the urgency of adopting EHRs to improve our healthcare system and recognizing the challenges that adoption will pose to healthcare providers"

"The regulation must be both ambitious and achievable. Like an escalator, HITECH attempts to move the health system upward toward improved quality and effectiveness in health care. But the speed of ascent must be calibrated to reflect both the capacities of providers who face a multitude of real-world challenges and the maturity of the technology itself," Blumenthal and Tavenner wrote.

The Federation of American Hospitals, the lobbying and trade association for for-profit hospitals, offered guarded praise for the new rules, saying they should help provide the impetus for hospitals to advance HIT for improved patient care. However FAH President/CEO Chip Kahn said "there is further work to do."

"Under today's final rule, multiple hospitals under a single Medicare provider number will not receive their full allotments," Kahn said. "Patients of a hospital should be confident that their hospital is receiving the full HITECH incentive, regardless of whether that hospital has an individual provider number or shares a provider number with other hospitals."

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