Meaningful Use Relief from New REBOOT Legislation

John Thune has introduced a new legislation called the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Regulatory Relief Act (S. 3173) to provide some relief to hospitals and eligible providers participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program (Better known as Meaningful Use). You can find the legislative text (ie. legalese) and the summary document (ie. readable).

This legislation was written by the “REBOOT members” John Thune (S.D.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.) who previously released a white paper on their Health IT concerns.

Here’s a short summary of what the legislation would do:

  • Codify the 90-day reporting period for meaningful use
  • Remove the All-or-Nothing approach to Meaningful Use and set a 70% threshold
  • Increased flexibility in Hardship Exceptions

If I’m reading the legalese right, it also opens the door for the HHS Secretary to allow a 90 day reporting period for MIPS as well. It’s interesting that it wasn’t highlighted in the summary document.

Regardless, these are all changes that will be welcomed by the healthcare community. What I like most about these proposals is that I don’t think any of them will impact how a hospital or doctor was previously planning to use their EHR. At least it won’t impact care in any sort of adverse way. Doctors will still be using an EHR. However, it will provide some reporting relief and will open the door of meaningful use to organizations that wouldn’t have been able to comply previously. Of course, I’m sure there are a few people out there that will settle for nothing less than a repeal of meaningful use completely. I predict that such a thing will never happen.

What do you think of this proposed legislation? Are they enough? Should they be providing more relief? Will this change your meaningful use plans?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, 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.


  • OK…I am taking some advice from a certain author….I am in the full repeal group. MU PQRS has a billion bytes of data, and zero reports of improved care, decreased costs, utilization, usability, efficiency safety security, provider satisfaction, interop. They fuss with the regs every year. Its a nightmare, and should be thrown out. And that means ACI MIPS etc, also.
    Now to what to do…let providers work directly with vendors. No counting, numerators, denominators, no cert hurdles. Let innovation back in. We know what we need and want from our EHR. Too bad CMS, you don’t get to know what we want. We know what we need from an interop level, usability, efficiency, safety, etc. We will demand it.
    At some point, CMS, the US government will understand they are interfering where they are not wanted and are damaging progress, increasing costs, patient care and the physician practice.

    More thoughts on what to do in my unicorn dreamland:
    NO more penalties. Only bonuses for those practices that want to try the “test” and “unproven” programs of CMS, like APM, ACOs, Homes, etc. Stop the crazy bonuses must match penalties thinking. Thats nuts.

    All this being said, CMS hates to hear they failed, they still claim MU was a success, which I feel and most others on the front line feel was a failed policy market and set us back at least 10 years and may have damaged the physician profession beyond repair.

    So I feel that the REBOOT does not go far enough, and without physician front line support, MIPS, MU ACI MACRA, whatever, is doomed to fail. I know that more and more providers are giving up on all this complicated mess and are willing to take the penalty lumps, and just want to focus on patient care.
    We all think its time to just stop the madness. I also feel that CMS will never just give up on their own, so I am resigned to the fact that I will be penalized…which is kinda crazy and our group is the only ortho group at our hospital and according to propublica’s reporting, we are the #1 quality hospital in Ohio for total knees and #8 in total hips, based on complications, readmissions, infections, etc. So I get penalized even though we are the highest quality doctors CMS can get. Every year we discuss leaving Medicare, as we are the only ones left and we really do not need them, they need us. CMS will realize that at some point, probably when its too late.

  • meltoots,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas. My fear is your last comment. I wonder if Medicare will really suffer if groups like yourself opt out of it.

Click here to post a comment