ARRA Meaningful Use for Hospitals

arra meaningful use for hospitals

MEDITECH, a DrFirst partner, is working to help hospitals meet ARRA meaningful use criteria.


The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was signed into law on February 17, 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The final rule for ARRA Meaningful Use incentives for Stage 1 was released on July 13, 2010 and published into the Federal Register on July 28, 2010, effective 60 days later.

The final rule identifies Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria that eligible professionals (EP) and eligible hospitals (EH) will need to meet in order to qualify for payment under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. MEDITECH customers are well positioned to meet the current challenge of qualifying for the EHR incentive program.

This document outlines the criteria for Stage 1, MEDITECH's product requirements for ARRA compliance, and details on timelines, calculations, and incentives. MEDITECH's goal is to help you understand what is expected of your organization and to assist you in achieving Meaningful Use. You will notice when reading this document that the government's requirements align with MEDITECH's strategy for deploying an integrated system and the emphasis over the past decade on deployment of Advanced Clinical Systems.

Criteria Stage 1

Final requirements for eligible hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)

For 2011 and 2012, the final rule identifies a "core set" of mandatory requirements and a "menu set" of optional criteria, of which five criteria must be met, with one of the five coming from population/public health reporting.

Incentive Payments for Critical Access Hospitals

CAHs must meet the same criteria and adoption stages as hospitals paid under the IPPS. As with Medicare, the Act provides for a downward payment adjustment for hospital services provided by CAHs, which are not Meaningful Users of certified EHR technology for cost reporting periods beginning in FY 2015.

The Medicare health IT incentive payments for CAHs differ from the HIT incentive payments for IPPS hospitals because CAHs are paid 101% of allowable costs by the Medicare program. CAHs will receive Medicare HIT incentive payments based on the actual capital costs associated with the purchase of certified EHR technology. CAHs will be allowed to expense the Medicare share of the capital costs associated with the purchase of certified EHR technology in a single year, rather than depreciating these costs over a period of years. The Medicare share of these capital costs will be determined in the same manner as IPPS hospitals, based on the CAH's Medicare percent of patient days—adjusted to account for charity care. The Medicare share is then increased by up to 20%, not to exceed a maximum Medicare share of 100%.

The Medicare HIT incentive payments will be made to CAHs for a maximum of four consecutive years. The first year CAHs can qualify for Medicare HIT payments is FY 2011 (October 1, 2010). Payments to CAHs will be via a single CMS contractor. CAHs must attest it is a Meaningful User and submit its documentation to its Fiscal Intermediaries and Medicare Administrative Contractor (FI/MAC) to support costs incurred for the certified EHR system. Payments begin in May 2011. CAHs that have not met HIT requirements by FY 2015 will be subject to reductions to their allowable Medicare cost reimbursement percentage.

To see the full article, visit the ARRA Meaningful Use article from MEDITECH.