Overview of Final EHR/Meaningful Use Regulations

Full Text of Regulations

Download the regulations here.

(.pdf, 63 pages) New EHR regulations are found on pages 8-9.

The Board of Registration in Medicine has finalized regulations that implement a state law requiring physicians to demonstrate proficiency in the use of electronic medical records, as well as the skills to achieve the federal Meaningful Use standard.

The new regulations became effective January 2, 2015, but all physicians renewing their licenses before March 31, 2015 will receive a one-time waiver from the requirements.

 In addition, physicians with renewal dates up to 60 days after March 31, 2015, could submit a renewal application prior to March 31, and be within the window for an automatic waiver.

Demonstrating Proficiency

The regulations establish multiple ways in which physicians would be in compliance with the requirement.

There are also a broad set of exemptions for certain license categories, where electronic health record use is intrinsic or not relevant.

Under the regulations, physicians are considered to have demonstrated proficiency if they meet any one of the following conditions:

  • Participating in the Meaningful Use program as an Eligible Professional
  • Having a relationship with a hospital that has been certified as a Meaningful Use participant. This relationship would be satisfied by any one of the  following conditions:
    • Employed by the hospital
    • Credentialed by the hospital to provide patient care
    • Having a “contractual agreement” with the hospital
  • Completing at least three hours of accredited CME program on electronic health records. Such a program must, at a minimum, discuss the core and menu set objectives, as well as the clinical quality measures for Meaningful Use.
  • Participating or being an authorized user in the Massachusetts Health Information Highway (the state’s official health information exchange)

Exemptions

  • Applicants for a Limited License, such as interns and residents
  • Applicants for a Volunteer License
  • Applicants for an Administrative License
  • License applicants not engaged in the practice of medicine
  • Applicants on active duty in the National Guard, or in military service who are called into service during a national emergency or crisis
  • Applicants for an Emergency Restricted License

Other Provisions

  • Physicians may ask the Board of Registration in Medicine for a 90-day waiver to delay implementation of the requirements due to “undue hardship.” Except for “exceptional circumstances,” this request must be made at least 30 days before the license renewal date.
  • The demonstration of proficiency is a one-time requirement.

The MMS is grateful to the Board’s chair, Candace Sloane, MD, and its members, who voted to implement the regulations in a responsible manner that will help move physicians towards adoption of electronic records without denying access to care for patients with physicians without access to meaningful use certified systems.

The MMS is also grateful to those many physicians, specialty societies, the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals and Massachusetts Hospital Association who provided supportive, constructive testimony on the regulations.

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