Practices win flexibility on 2011 meaningful use rules

In a letter to NCHIT David Blumenthal, the Health IT Policy Committee is now suggesting the Department of Health and Human Services defer up to six of its 25 meaningful use standards.

Regular readers here may remember Dr. David Kibbe's recent call that small practices be given flexibility in meeting the "meaningful use" rules for 2011 that will get them paid for their IT investments.

The flexibility is going to be there, although maybe not in the way Dr. Kibbe would have liked it.

In a letter to NCHIT David Blumenthal, the Health IT Policy Committee is now suggesting the Department of Health and Human Services defer up to six of its 25 meaningful use standards.

In practice it can mean doctors get paid for something as simple as e-prescribing, or recording patient data in a structured database, or just using a computerized patient entry order system. They would not even have to deliver an electronic copy of care instructions, or even test the exchange of information with other systems.

The letter also recommended that the money be disbursed through Acumen Systems of Vienna, Vir., which will build a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for that through Salesforce.com. That system will, in turn, support a network of extension centers around the country that will dole out the cash.

The new rules will certainly give small practices flexibility, which might encourage some investment, but all the panel is really doing is delaying some requirements, not eliminating them entirely. Some stuff due to be done in 2011 is just getting pushed back to 2013.

Dr. Blumenthal himself has been confirmed as a Wednesday speaker at the coming Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) show in Atlanta. ZDNet Healthcare will cover the event.

Just forget the official recommendations on where to eat. Leon's in Decatur does locavore chow right, and they have a veggie loaf that is to die for. (Or, if you prefer, bacon in a glass with peanut butter.) Plus it's right next to a MARTA station.

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