With over half the HITECH funds having been spent, the Obama administration is looking for new ways to encourage the switch to EHRs.
One way, the administration has announced, involves loosening up regulations that prohibit hospitals from giving other practices medical record software that might then be used to refer patients back to the hospital.
According to this article, “This ‘anti-kickback’ provision, along with similar measures designed to keep doctors from referring patients to hospitals in which they have a financial stake, are seen by some as counterproductive in the push toward expensive electronic systems. In response, the federal government has repeatedly implemented safe harbor rules, allowing for certain arrangements that ‘do not pose a risk of program or patient abuse,’ according to a notice describing one of the new proposals.”
Now, two new rules, one issued by CMS and the other by HHS’ Office of Inspector General, aim to expand those safe harbor rule and push back their expiration dates.
The public will have 60 days to offer comments.