Meaningful Use Exceptions for Specialists

Neil Versel at Fierce EMR recently did a post talking about the meaningful use exceptions that are available for specialists. In it he quotes David Blumenthal, national health IT coordinator, and Dr. Derek Robinson, medical director for HHS Region V. They provide an example of an exception to the meaningful use criteria that a specialist might be able to use:

For example, three of the “core” measures of meaningful use that all providers must be able report on are blood pressure levels, whether patients over 13 use tobacco products and adult weight screening. “You may say that one of these or all three of these may not be part of your scope of practice,” Robinson said, amednews reports. It is possible to report zero as both the denominator and numerator for the quality measure if that specific item is outside a physician’s scope of practice.

This is what I was talking about in my last post about the EHR Stimulus money for dentists. No doubt there are a whole lot of specialties that will want to be granted these types of exceptions. It will be interesting to see what the exact process is for being granted the exception. I also won’t be surprised if we see some EMR vendors (specialty specific EMR vendors in particular) helping their doctors apply for these exceptions.

The only problem with the exception is for those specialists where the denominator is not 0, but it’s a very small number. I seem to remember a pediatric orthopedic surgeon saying that he only wrote prescriptions a few times a week. Learning and implementing an ePrescribing system for a couple scripts a week isn’t going to be very fun.

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John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Note: in a recent HIMSS MU presentation, we were informed that many of the provider specialties professional organizations have been developing additional alternate MU Measures specific to those specialties. These are being added to the list of MU measures and posted to CMS web site, however I have not located any of those as yet.

  • Michael,
    I haven’t heard of any other provisions for specialists. If you or anyone else knows of other references about ONC working on MU measures that are specific to specialists I’d be very interested. The challenge I think might be in the legislation they’ve been given and what they’re allowed to do or not do with meaningful use.

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