Senate exempts ASC docs from Meaningful Use requirements

The U.S. Senate has passed its version of the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 (S. 1347) which protects physicians practicing in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) from the Meaningful Use penalties until certified EHR technology (CEHRT) is available for this practice setting.

Patient encounters now will not count as part of Meaningful Use when determining whether an eligible professional qualifies under the program. Physicians who work in ASCs were at a disadvantage when attempting to meet Meaningful Use, since to be a Meaningful User they must have 50 percent or more outpatient encounters at locations with a certified EHR.

The prohibition would end three years after the Department of Health and Human Services determines through notice and rule making that CEHRT is applicable to ASCs. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in June. The two bills now need to be slightly reconciled before being sent to President Obama to be signed. Announcement