Meaningful Use Program Overview

EHRIn February 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which provides Medicare or Medicaid incentives (not both) to each eligible health care provider who demonstrates the meaningful use of an electronic health record system.

Review the incentive timetable ››

What is Meaningful Use?

Eligible providers achieve meaningful use by demonstrating that their utilization of a certified electronic health record system meets a set of explicit objectives. In general, these objectives require providers to collect a specific set of data about patients and encounters, store the data in a computer database, and perform a number of computations based on that data.

The first stage of these objectives was released in July 2010. The ARRA law envisions three stages of objectives, to be rolled out gradually through 2015. Stage 2 requirements were approved in 2012, and will be effective in 2014. Proposals for Stage 3 requirements have not been released.

What's a Certified EHR?

The federal government has hired several private organizations to review and certify EHR systems as being eligible for this program.

Can I Get Help?

Yes. The ARRA law provided money for each state to establish a Regional Extension Center to help eligible providers install an EHR system and become eligible for Medicare or Medicare incentives.

What else did ARRA do?

ARRA directed the Department of Health and Human Services to promote the development of a nationwide interoperable Health IT infrastructure. It also established a policy and standards committee to advise HHS on Health IT policy, framework, standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for EHRs.

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MMS Guide to Health Information Technology

EHR Guide thumbnailWhether you are still considering an EHR, struggling to integrate an  existing one into your practice or looking to take yours to the next level, our informative Committee on Information Technology guide provides best-practices and pitfalls, as well as the implications of mandates such as Meaningful Use, HIPAA compliance and connecting to Health Information Exchanges.

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