EHR Improvement Act Bill Seeks to Add Participation Exemptions

The EHR Improvements ActThe EHR Improvement Act

Last Thursday, Republican Representative Diane Black of Tennessee introduced a new bill to lift some requirements eligible professionals face to participate in the CMS EHR Incentive Program. The EHR Improvement Act bill seeks to “amend certain requirements and penalties implemented under the Medicare and Medicaid programs by the HITECH Act of 2009, which would otherwise impede eligible professionals from adopting electronic health records to improve patient care.”

The EHR Improvement Act proposes two new exemptions that would:

  • allow solo practitioners to qualify for a hardship exemption because of limited capital, time, and staff resources
  • allow physicians who will be eligible for Social Security by 2015 to qualify for a retirement exemption of no more than three years

In a summary of the bill provisions, Rep. Black recaps the four basic principals of the bill:

  • Reduce the regulatory burden for providers and patients
  • Reduce cost per practice and complexities in establishing EHR
  • Improve “quality” measurements by engaging provider-patient, not bureaucrats
  • Tailor “meaningful use” requirements to better meet the needs of providers and patients

Other proposed provisions call for allowing certain providers to meet MU quality reporting requirements through participation in specialties’ disease or practice registry programs recognized by HHS and require CMS to establish an appeals process no later than Jan. 1, 2015, for providers penalized under the Medicare incentive program for not meeting meaningful use.

You can read the bill here.