The Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentives and their “Meaningful Use”


The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) established incentives for eligible healthcare providers to increase their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for “meaningful use” of electronic health record (EHR) systems (Link:  The HITECH Act also established penalties in future years if the same eligible providers did not meet the same “meaningful use” requirements. 

Until recently the term “meaningful use” was unclear.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have now established the “criteria” for “meaningful use” as it relates to the Medicare and Medicaid incentives.  “Stage 1 criteria” for meaningful use begins in 2011 and creates 25 measures.  The eligible provider must meet 15 core measures (all eligible providers must meet) plus five additional measures chosen from a menu of 10 based on their specific situation.  “Stage 2 and 3 criteria” for meaningful use will be intended to enhance the stage 1 criteria and will be initiated in future years Click here to review all 25 measures now in effect.

If you are an eligible provider already using EHR, make sure you receive all incentives and credits to which you are entitled.  If your office hasn’t made the EHR move yet, contact us so we can help you plan a fiscally appropriate time to do so before the penalty phase of the HITECH Act begins.