The AHA today expressed support for draft legislation in the Senate that would eliminate the “all-or-nothing approach” to meaningful use under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs. “Under this approach, failure to meet any one of the requirements under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, even by a small amount, results in a large payment penalty,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels. “This is unfair to hospitals that make good faith efforts to comply, may actually comply with a large percentage of the requirements, expend significant resources and funds in doing so, but still fall short.” The draft language also would allow a 90-day EHR reporting period in 2016 and beyond, and extend flexibility in applying hardship exceptions for meaningful use, changes advocated by the association. “The AHA also recommends expanding the hardship exception categories to allow providers to change EHR vendors during a reporting period to meet their needs without the additional burden of a payment adjustment,” the letter notes. The draft legislation was unveiled by six senators led by John Thune (R-SD) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. For more on why AHA supports the proposed changes, see the AHASTAT blog

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