The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued new accounting guidance on recognizing income from electronic health records meaningful use incentive payments under the HITECH Act.

The SEC notes that the "gain contingency" accounting model is the appropriate income recognition model for HITECH incentive payments. The new guidance could compel publicly owned provider organizations to adjust their financial reports. For instance, Hospital Corporation of America on Nov. 8 announced changes to its financial expectations that were made only a week ago. HCA was using a model based on a consensus position of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' health care expert panel that recognized HITECH income sooner than the SEC now would permit.

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