HHS publishes final EHR 'meaningful use' guidelines (US)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this week issued final guidelines which will determine how doctors, hospitals and other medical care facilities can qualify for reimbursements under ARRA (federal stimulus funding) by adopting EHRs over the next four years.  This is being done in stages–the one of most concern is due in 2011.  Primary care physicians and hospitals that deploy EHRs and prove compliance with “meaningful use” standards (23 for hospitals, 25 for physicians) can receive up to $44,000 per doctor in reimbursement funds through Medicare and $63,750 under Medicaid beginning next year.  For hospitals, this is potentially millions.  Whither eHealth?  Possibly here: ‘providing patient-specific educational resources for eligible providers and hospitals.’  864 pages of guidelines leave a lot for Bloomberg Business Week (which could not resist getting it wrong–EHRs are not widely understood as eHealth) and iHealthBeat to write about.