FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2018

Rule changes proposed for electronic health records

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week shared proposed rule changes to improve the way electronic health information is shared.

The rules, also developed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), apply to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Incentive Programs, and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. 

The proposed rule changes include new criteria that eligible health care providers must meet to qualify for Medicaid EHR incentive payments and criteria that providers must meet to avoid Medicare payment adjustments. It also simplifies and gives more flexibility to providers by eliminating requirements that are no longer relevant. 

The rules are just one part of the HHS’ larger effort to create better health care. The HHS seeks to spend health funds more wisely while creating healthier communities and individuals. HHS representatives plan to achieve these goals through improving health care delivery, improving how health care information is shared and improving how health care providers are compensated.

Changing these three core issues will lower the costs of the health care system and support the betterment of health care. The new rules are meant to give additional flexibility to health care providers, simplify the program, increase patient outcomes to boost care and encourage interoperability of electronic health records.

“The flow of information is fundamental to achieving a health system that delivers better care, smarter spending and healthier people,” Sylvia M. Burwell, the secretary of HHS, said. “The steps we are taking today will help to create more transparency on cost and quality information, bring electronic health information to inform care and decision making, and support population health.”

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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