The Senate last week passed a bill that seeks to protect physicians who refer patients to ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) from potential payment penalties under the Medicare meaningful use program.

To qualify for Medicare EHR incentive payments, eligible professionals must furnish at least 50 percent of their patient encounters during the reporting period in locations with certified electronic health record technology. However, under the meaningful use program, ambulatory surgery centers are not eligible and certified EHRs are not used in ASCs.

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