Equipping an office with EHR systems and technology is a difficult and expensive task for physicians; the extension is no doubt a welcome relief, as physicians continue to integrate EHR systems into their practices. The rule also:
- Excludes lab companies from the scope of protected donors. CMS made this change due to “concerns articulated by commenters and the wide-ranging support from the entire spectrum of the laboratory industry (from small, pathologist-owned laboratory companies to a national laboratory trade association that represents the industry’s largest laboratory companies).” This change will become effective on March 27, 2014.
- Provides revisions to what type of software is considered “interoperable” for the purposes of donation and what is included in “covered technology.”
- Removes from the exception the requirement related to e-prescribing capabilities.
With the sunset date now extended, physicians and qualifying donors should review and amend donation agreements. Likewise, labs and those receiving donations from labs must terminate or restructure arrangements by the March 27 deadline.
Lisa English Hinkle
McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC