'Meaningful use' proposal may be out soon

HHS may publish proposed criteria for "meaningful use" of electronic health records sooner rather than later, according to a story in Health Data Management. The magazine reports online that the vendor-centric HIMSS EHR Association has learned that HHS may issue its proposal as soon as June 16. Meaningful use is the standard by which hospitals and physicians can qualify for Medicare or Medicaid bonuses under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The proposal, which will be subject to public comment, likely will follow current Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology testing criteria, EHRA Chairman Justin Barnes, representing Greenway Medical Technologies, tells HDM. According to the story, HHS does not want to force vendors to start development all over to meet an entirely new set of rules, something that would jeopardize the incentive program's Jan. 1, 2011 start date. HHS has until the end of this year to finalize its definition of meaningful use.

For more on the impending release of the proposal:
- Read the Health Data Management story