Critical Access & Small Hospitals Falling Behind in Meaningful Use

Joseph Goedert | HealthData Management | August 6, 2013

A study from Mathematica Policy Research and the American Hospital Association, published in Health Affairs, finds many critical access hospitals and other smaller hospitals are at risk to fail achieving meaningful use and face Medicare payment penalties in 2015.

With fewer than half of all hospitals having a basic EHR in 2012, smaller and rural hospitals “appear to be less likely than other hospitals to have met the Stage 1 criteria, and very few hospitals had all of the computerized systems necessary to achieve Stage 2 meaningful use,” authors contend.

Between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of hospitals with at least 200 beds receiving meaningful use payments more than doubled, yet those with less than 100 beds had a lower rate. Teaching hospitals also had a higher meaningful use success rate than non-teaching hospitals. The proportion of critical access hospitals that received a meaningful use payment in 2012 declined slightly from the previous year. “Furthermore, smaller proportions of government-owned and nonprofit hospitals received payments, compared to the proportion of for-profit institutions.”

Open Health News' Take: 

For many small, cash poor community hospitals the implementation of the 'open source' VistA electronic health record (EHR) system is the best way forward. Read more about VistA installations in many rural states across the U.S.  For example, read about the deployment of VistA in West Virginia and other state at   -  Peter Groen, Senior Editor, OHN