Board of Medicine Approves EHR-Meaningful Use Regulations

The Board of Registration in Medicine has adopted final changes to 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 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.

Demonstrating Proficiency

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)

Proposed Exemptions

  • Applicants for a Limited License, such as interns and residents
  • Applicants for a Volunteer, Administrative or Emergency Restricted 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

Physicians may ask the Board of Registration in Medicine for a 90-day waiver to delay implementation of the requirements due to “undue hardship.” With only rare exceptions, 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, M.D., 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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