HealthInfoNet Positioned to Help Providers Achieve Meaningful Use

In light of new federal rules, several of the services HealthInfoNet offers will help make many Maine health care providers and hospitals adopting and using electronic medical records (EMR), eligible to receive federal incentive payments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

On July 13th, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced two long awaited “final rules” that define stage one meaningful use and certification of EMR technology outlined in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. Under the Act, health care providers and hospitals can qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid incentive payments if they meet stage one meaningful use criteria.

The stage one meaningful use criteria include fifteen “core” measures that must be demonstrated by both hospitals and physician practices. Hospitals and physician practices must also demonstrate compliance with five “other” criteria chosen by each provider organization from a “menu” of ten additional criteria. To trigger stage one meaningful use incentive payments, most providers and hospitals must demonstrate compliance with these criteria by April of 2012.  The one notable exception will be physician practices that qualify for incentive payments under Medicaid.  These practices can secure meaningful use incentive payments prior to installing a certified EMR so that funds may be applied to the cost of investing in an EMR solution.

Because HealthInfoNet (HIN) is operational today, Maine health care providers connected to the HIN exchange already satisfy three of the core meaningful use criteria and two of the optional criteria. By 2011 Maine providers, through their participation in HIN, will be able to meet four additional core criteria (seven in total) and two of the optional criteria listed in the final rule.

Click here to view a spreadsheet outlining the stage one meaningful use criteria HealthInfoNet is positioned to help providers achieve as well as a timeline for their implementation.