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Senate Legislation Exempts ASC Procedures from Meaningful Use

The Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 (S. 1347, H.R. 887) is approved by the U.S. Senate and now proceeds to the president’s desk.

Presently, Medicare provides incentive payments to hospitals and eligible professionals who become “meaningful users” of certified electronic health record technology (EHR). As of 2015, eligible professionals who are not meaningful users may be subject to a penalty.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) authorized Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to promote EHR use; however, HITECH didn’t include ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) in the incentive program. Therefore, development of EHR products tailored to ASCs was not a vendor priority, nor was it included in the certification process. As such, states the bill language, providers in ASC facilities should not be disadvantaged in the program.

The bill would exclude ASC services from being counted toward the 50 percent meaningful use eligibility threshold until certified EHR technology applicable to the ASC setting is available. This exclusion would end three years after the Secretary, by rulemaking, determines that CEHRT applicable to the ASC setting is available.


Senate Report 114-106 is available here.