Obama Administration Eases Up on EHR Regulations
The Obama administration today announced that it would relax certain health care regulations as a component of its push to create jobs without waiting for any action by Congress. The changes yield physicians additional time to adjust to new standards for electronic health records (EHRs). Prior to this new development, doctors who participated in the Health and Human Services Department’s (HHS) incentive program for EHRs were required to meet specific standards within two years. Such standards will not become mandatory until 2014, even for doctors who wait until sometime next year to sign up for the program. In a statement, HHS officials deemed more relaxed EHR standards “the latest piece” of the administration’s “we can’t wait” campaign. The gradual conversion to EHRs has already created 50,000 jobs since 2009, according to HHS. “We’re making great progress, but we can’t wait to do more,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release. “Too many doctors and hospitals are still using the same record-keeping technology as Hippocrates.” American Hospital Association (AHA) President Rich Umbdenstock praised the move in a statement issued following the announcement. "While growing numbers of hospitals will meet the … requirements over time, this delay will help strengthen the EHR incentive program in its ability to support care system transformation and health information exchange," he asserted.