Meaningful Use is supposed be, well, meaningful. But sometimes what's good in theory doesn't translate very well in practice.
Joe White, former chief financial officer at Tyler, Texas-based Shelby Regional Medical Center, pleaded guilty Nov. 12 to making a false statement to the government in order to obtain incentive payments under the Medicare Meaning Use program.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) has once again identified the meaningful and secure exchange and use of electronic health information as one of the 10 biggest management and performance challenges facing HHS in the coming year, according to its latest report.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT intends to forge on with its certification activities even though the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology will no longer be part of electronic health record certification, according to Captain Alicia Morton, the new head of the agency's health IT certification program.
Since the Institute of Medicine recommended last April that social and behavioral health information should be included in electronic health records, it convened a 13-member committee to determine which ones are most likely to affect health. From a proposed list of 17 social and behavioral "domains," it winnowed that list down to 11 to be included as a guide for federal officials developing criteria for Meaningful Use Stage 3.
I'm sure I'm not the only person who's distressed to learn that the appeals process for the Meaningful Use program lacks clarity and appears arbitrary. So what's going on here? It's not that easy to find out.
The American Medical Association continues to exert pressure to ease the burdens of the Meaningful Use program on physicians, this time approving a policy calling for the penalties to be dropped due to lack of interoperability and regulations be changed to allow electronic health records to be more usable.
Providers that fail a Meaningful Use audit have the right to appeal the determination. However, some providers who take this step are running into roadblocks that render the process confusing and in some cases downright unfair.
Many providers simply aren't on the same playing field when it comes to Meaningful Use, which has played a big part in attestation, according to Dawn Ross, clinical informatics director for Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health.
The Meaningful Use program has become an impediment to achieving its own goal of meaningful interoperability, Peter Basch, M.D., medical director for ambulatory EHR and health IT policy for Columbia, Maryland-based MedStar Health, writes in a commentary at Health Affairs.