The proposed high bar for hospitals to receive incentive payments for meaningful use of electronic health records is unrealistic and will limit their ability to get the payments, according to the American Hospital Association.

The Chicago-based organization in its formal comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calls for an incremental and flexible plan that will enable more hospitals and physicians to achieve meaningful use. "Our goal is not to slow down progress toward fully functional EHRs," the letter states. "Rather, we think our approach will lead to much broader adoption rates of successful EHR systems across the vast majority of hospitals in a sustainable timeframe because hospitals would have more certainty, predictability and flexibility to address both institutional and local community priorities."

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