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Meaningful Use Definitions Hurt Rural Hospitals

On June 16, 2009, the Meaningful Use Workgroup of the Health Information Technology (HIT) Policy Committee released its initial recommendations for the definition of "meaningful use" of electronic health records (EHR). In order to qualify for incentive payments under the health care IT portions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), hospitals and physicians must demonstrate meaningful use of EHR technology. When finalized, the HIT Policy Committee’s recommendations will provide the basis for the final rules for demonstrating the meaningful use required to receive stimulus funds. Public comments on these initial recommendations are being sought by the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT. In our initial read of the Office of National Coordinator's (ONC) definition of meaningful use, many rural hospitals will be unable to access ARRA funds to improve their Health Information Technology (HIT) systems. This is significant and can't be allowed to remain in its current form. For more information, please check out this link which provides a nice preliminary review of the these recommendations, from a rural perspective.

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