Meaningful Use

What is Meaningful Use?

The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act was signed into law in 2009, apportioning $22.6 billion dollars to the US Healthcare system. Through Health & Human Services, The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act uses this funding to establish rules for modernizing the US Healthcare system and driving Information Technology in the Healthcare industry.

One way HITECH is driving adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) is through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. This program has defined Meaningful Use core objectives and quality measures to be met over the next five years for electronic medical records. Physicians and Hospitals that register and meet these objectives are eligible for incentive payments through either Medicare or Medicaid. Expert EMR offers a FREE CONSULTATION to help guide you to the right choice for your EMR|EHR implementation.

HITECH also authorized grant programs and contracts that support HIT adoption by providing technical assistance to health care providers, especially rural and under-served communities; training a HIT workforce; as well as developing standards for certification of electronic health record privacy and security.

EHR Implementation Stages

Stage 1- currently in progress

  • Start date: January 2011
  • Both Medicare & Medicaid have documented criteria for Eligible Providers and Hospitals to receive Incentive Payments, if they register and meet the Core Objectives and Quality Measures for Meaningful Use.
  • Click here for program details

Stage 2- currently in development

  • Start date: tentatively 2014
  • Stage 2 requirements have been finalized

Stage 3- future

  • Start date: tentatively 2015
  • Requirements will depend on Stage 2 progression with Meaningful Use.



The Medicare EHR Incentive Program began in 2011. Meaningful Use Core Objectives and Quality Measures have been published for registered Eligible Providers, Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). Upon meeting the Meaningful Use criteria for a 90 day period with a certified EHR software, Eligible Providers can receive a financial incentive up to $44,000 over a five year period. Incentive payments for Hospitals and CAHs are determined by Core Objectives, Quality Measures and additional factors as well.

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The Medicaid EHR Incentive Program has different criteria than the Medicare EHR Program and incentive payments cannot be collected under both programs at the same time. The Medicaid EHR Incentive program began in 2011; however, availability is launched by state.

Eligible Providers can receive a financial incentive up to $63,750 over a six year period. Hospitals and CAHs are also eligible for incentive payments by meeting the Meaningful Use Core Objectives, Quality Measures and additional factors.

For all organizations — early demonstration of Meaningful Use will yield the highest incentive payout.


The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) is acting under HITECH as the organization providing certification of Electronic Medical Records software. They have designated several certifying bodies and maintain the records of certification. Certification ensures the Medical Records meet designated standards for data security and efficiency. Using certified software is part of Meaningful Use criteria for Eligible Providers and Hospitals

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