As Congress considers year-end legislation, the AHA today reiterated its support for the Electronic Health Record Regulatory Relief Act (S. 3173) in a letter to leaders of the Senate Finance, House Ways and Means, and House Energy and Commerce Committees. Introduced in July by Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the legislation would provide regulatory flexibility and hardship relief to hospitals and eligible professionals in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. Specifically, the bill would require eligible hospitals and professionals to meet no more than 70% of the required metrics to satisfy meaningful use requirements; codify the 90-day reporting period for reporting year 2016; and extend the ability to apply for a hardship exception through 2017. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 also calls for greater flexibility in how physicians and other eligible clinicians are expected to use certified technology to support clinical care, the letter notes. “As these changes are implemented, it will be essential to ensure that program requirements are aligned across all participants, including physicians, hospitals and critical access hospitals,” wrote AHA. “…The Oct. 14 final regulations for MACRA fall short in this regard.”

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