The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide reimbursement incentives for eligible professionals who are successful in becoming “meaningful users” of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. The law includes the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or the "HITECH Act" which established programs under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). On July 13, 2010 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its final rule on the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs under Medicare and Medicaid.

What is Meaningful Use?

This Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Care Record (EHR) Incentive Program, commonly known as the Meaningful Use program, provides incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

What are its stages?

The program is divided into the following stages

Which was launched in 2011, promotes the adoption of EHRs; emphasizing on data capture and sharing. To commence Meaningful Use participation, all providers must meet the Stage 1 requirements.
Launched in 2014, focuses on advanced clinical processes and the ability to privately and securely exchange information. The final stage 2 rule was made public by the CMS in 2014.
which will begin in 2017, aims to deal with using information to improve quality of care, make simpler administrative systems, accomplish enhanced quality outcomes, manage population and public health, and control costs.

Eligible professionals must pass through

each consecutive stage to successfully demonstrate MU.

Choosing an MU program

The MU program is available for Medicare and Medicaid eligible professionals. Although the two programs are similar in many ways there are some key differences. Providers must either select Medicare or Medicaid, as they can only participate in one of the programs. This is discussed in detail in the eligibility section.