On June 17, 2015, the U.S. House passed the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015, which was passed to Senate for further approval. This act redefined the requirements for Meaningful Use specifically for Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) by decreasing the threshold for surgeons. Representative Diane Black from Tennessee introduced the bill to specifically address the EHR products that are not certified for ASCs.

Before diving into the specifications of this act, let’s do some surface exploring on ASCs. First, ASCs provide “same day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures” (Advancing Surgical Care). They are noted to have a positive trend in health care as they are constantly supporting millions of patients and research in the medical field. Next, the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 “creates a demonstration for Medicare Advantage plan that allows the use of Value Based Insurance Design to reduce the co-payments or co-insurance for beneficiaries with specific chronic conditions” (Fierce EMR). Value Based Insurance Design increases health care quality while decreasing financial burdens. In summary, the act determines if an eligible professional qualifies as a Meaningful Use EHR user.

As we dive deeper into this content, it is important to recognize that the U.S. House and Senate are attempting to make Stage 3 of Meaningful Use positive for both the user and the creator. The modifications taking place specifically within the Electronic Health Fairness Act are attempting to make Meaningful Use more for the public good. Representative Earl Blumenauer believes this bill will be beneficial as it “protects physicians from the ‘odd structure of the current [Meaningful Use] program’” (Fierce EMR).

The bill has been passed to Senate for consideration. If the Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 becomes law, then care surgeons of ASCs will not be counted toward the threshold of the Meaningful Use requirements. In contrast, in the status quo, surgeons are required to use certified technology to conduct at least half of their patient encounters. Unfortunately this has been causing much resistance and as surgeons are having to shift patients from their surgical centers to hospitals. According to Dr. Steve Ketover, president and CEO of Minnesota Gastroenterology, in the status quo, the program “really places a burden, and a distinctive, to use the ambulatory surgery center” (Modern Healthcare). The key to the treasure box at the bottom of the ocean lies in making this act a law as it will be a better incentive program for eligible professionals and hospitals to participate in as they meet the requirements. If Meaningful Use requirements are not met then it could reduce “future Medicare reimbursements of 1% up to 5%” (Modern Healthcare). The Electronic Health Fairness Act of 2015 is viable evidence that legislators are now crafting bills that will allow the provider to determine where and how their patients should be treated.

So, if passed by Senate how will you dive deep with the Electronic Heath Fairness Act of 2015?

Author: Sahana Bhargava

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