By the middle of February, the Obama administration unveiled a plan to help various states with implementing healthcare technology. The plan called for HHS to distribute $750 million in federal grants to go toward establishing regional extension centers and encouraging state-level health information exchange. "These grant awards, the first of their kind, will help develop our electronic infrastructure and give doctors and other health care providers the support they need as they adopt this powerful technology," Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.
By the mid-March, when the deadline for publicly commenting on the proposed meaningful use rules had passed, it became clear that people wanted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer more flexibility to providers as far as qualifying for federal health IT stimulus funding.
In April, President Obama signed into law legislation that removed restrictions for physicians in hospital-based outpatient clinics as far as receiving federal electronic medical record (EMR) incentive payments. Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) and Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) also introduced legislation to try to get meaningful use programs to expand to behavioral and mental health professionals.