Legislation Touts Meaningful Use Program Flexibility and Hardship Relief

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) Regulatory Relief Act (S. 3173), which recently was introduced by six US Senators including Sen. Richard Burr (R- NC), would provide regulatory flexibility and hardship relief to providers and hospitals operating under the meaningful use program.

The senators’ legislation would shorten the reporting period for eligible physicians and hospitals from 365 days to 90 days, relax the all-or-nothing nature of the current program requirements, and extend the ability for eligible providers and hospitals to apply for a hardship exception from the meaningful use requirements.

In April, the senators wrote to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt to request input on a draft bill, and with the feedback they received, developed the version that was introduced today.

“One-size-fits-all regulation is jeopardizing the full potential for electronic health records to improve care for North Carolinians,” said Burr. “I’m pleased to be working with my colleagues to advance common-sense policy that will provide flexibility and better support North Carolina’s hospitals and doctors in what’s most important—providing quality care to North Carolinians.”

Click here for a summary document and here for legislative text.

Burr is among the original members of the Senate’s health IT working group, Re-examining the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health IT (REBOOT). In 2013, the group released a white paper outlining concerns with current federal health IT policy, including increased health care costs, lack of momentum toward interoperability, potential waste and abuse, patient privacy and long-term sustainability.

The white paper was part of a broader effort to solicit feedback from the administration and foster an ongoing conversation on improving the health IT program with the stakeholder community, including health care providers, technology vendors and others.

 
 

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