Federal standards, released July 13, defining what constitutes the “meaningful use” of an electronic health record (EHR) will require Ohio physicians to evaluate and define how they will use these systems in their practice. Meeting the meaningful use performance standards is an essential component of qualifying for financial incentives through Medicare and Medicaid.
These new rules are the result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which created financial incentives through Medicare and Medicaid for medical practices that adopt an EHR system. Through ARRA, Ohio was awarded $43 million for the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP), the non-profit entity designated last year by Gov. Ted Strickland, to lead the implementation of health information technology in the state.
OHIP is working with regional partners to help more than 6,000 primary care providers install EHRs to achieve meaninful use and connect to a statewide, secure health information exchange. OHIP was formed, in part, because the problems associated with successfully selecting and implementing an EHR have served as a significant factor in limiting the growth of EHRs in Ohio and across the country.
The meaningful use rules in conjunction with temporary certification rules released in June give final shape to the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs and clarify provisions. For example:
Among the services, many of which are free, that OHIP and its regional extension center (REC) partners will offer include:
The OOA is a founding partner of OHIP.
More information is available from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at http://tiny.cc/4vihc (fact sheet) and http://tiny.cc/p7n28 (press release).