After lobbying from many healthcare associations, both houses of Congress have now passed a bill that amends the definition of “hospital-based” eligible professionals for the purpose of EHR incentive payments under the HITECH Act.
HR 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, extends unemployment benefits and pushes back temporarily cuts in Medicare reimbursements for physicians. But it also changes the language about hospital-based eligible professionals from those working in an “in-patient or out-patient” setting to an “in-patient or emergency room” setting. That would allow hospital-based physicians practicing in outpatient settings to be eligible for ARRA incentive funding. Many in the healthcare field were worried that the original definition in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposal would exclude a large percentage of physicians from receiving incentives.
The bill was signed into law Thursday by President Obama.