Bill calls for expanded EMR incentives for multi-campus hospitals

A bipartisan group of more than 50 House members went to bat earlier this week for multi-campus hospitals by sponsoring new legislation that would amend the way Medicare and Medicaid incentives are paid to those hospitals when adopting EMRs.

The bill--the Equal Access and Parity for Multi-Campus Hospitals Act (H.R. 2500)--specifies that EMR incentive payments should go to each campus of a multi-campus hospital system--as long as each campus meets the Meaningful Use requirements. Under current regulations, hospital systems with multiple campuses organized under a single Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) certification number receive only a single incentive payment.

This is not the first time legislation has emerged on this topic. Last year, bills were introduced in both the House and the Senate to expand the incentives to all hospitals in a multi-campus setting following comments from CMS that it would not change the current regulations. The bills were not approved by Congress.

This year, four congressmen--Reps. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Texas), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)--introduced the new bill.

The new bill corrects "omissions made in previous legislation designed to aid health professionals to incorporate health information technology into their systems," said Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health. "I believe that multi-campus hospitals should not be penalized for having more than one location."

American Hospital Association President Rich Umbdenstock added in a statement: "This legislation is instrumental to delivering the promise of [EMRs] to more Americans. And with integrated [EMRs] will come improved patient outcomes and efficiencies in care delivery to support better health and healthcare."

For more details:
- see the AHA News Now brief
- view Rep. Burgess's news release

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