The criteria for qualifying for subsidies in funding for the implementation of electronic health records was apparently too restrictive for some. The American Hospital Association has called upon the CMS to draw back from its Final Ruling on how it would implement the funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Their rule is not yet completed, though, and at this time, they’re forming the final rule on how they will administer the subsidy funds.

Though the public comment period on the rule closed in March, the AHA has prepared an advertisement against the proposed regulation. Slated to run in D.C. publications, the ad states that the CMS’ proposed rule “proposes strict requirements that constrain hospitals as they work to implement new EHR systems, imposing a one-size-fits-all policy that ignores upfront cost, time and logistical challenges.” The AHA wants the CMS to “adopt an incremental and realistic policy, one that recognizes flexible criteria for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.”

While consistency is needed, a one-size-fits-none program is not going to provide a viable solution. This is one of the many places where the medical community should have been actively petitioned for their suggestions. A public comment period is standard, the way that things get done with agencies that create regulations that become akin to law (though they are made without representation.) It is not an invitation to comment. In reality, if one doesn’t closely monitor all of the publishing to the Federal Register, one wouldn’t even know the rules were about to be changed. Let’s hope that the CMS is willing to listen to us this time. It would be a real shame if the potential benefits of electronic health records went down the tubes because the CMS refused to pay heed to the very people who use those records.