Agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 13 officially published two rules covering the meaningful use of electronic health records provisions of the HITECH Act within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Publication of the rules starts the clock for the public comment period, with both rules having a March 15 deadline for comment. The proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services defines "meaningful use" of electronic health records to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments. It lays out a series of measures to collect and report data to government agencies. The rule is 169 pages long in a PDF format.

An interim final rule from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology sets initial standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria for EHR technology. The rule is 33 pages long in a PDF format. A forthcoming rule will establish an EHR certification program.

The rules are available at

--Joseph Goedert

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