A new law significantly expands the number of physicians eligible for Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments if they demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records.

Provider associations commenting on the meaningful use rule consistently told the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services the same two things: The meaningful use criteria was unrealistic and physicians working in hospital-owned outpatient facilities should be eligible for incentive payments. Now, Congress has fixed the second problem, passing a bill that President Obama signed that includes language to make physicians who primarily practice outside of the inpatient side of a hospital eligible for incentives.

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