The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is inviting comment by the end of next week on draft recommendations on how to define "meaningful use" of electronic health records (EHRs). As Wiley Rein previously reported , the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 promotes the adoption of EHRs by providing Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to physicians and hospitals that demonstrate "meaningful use" of certified EHRs beginning in October 2010.

Comments on the draft recommendations ( framework and meaningful use matrix), which were developed by the HHS Health IT Policy Committee, are limited to 2000 words and due by 5 p.m. EST on June 26, 2009. The Committee will use the comments to prepare more detailed recommendations for consideration by the HHS Office of National Coordinator of Health IT. This first request for comments is the initial step towards the development of formal rules, which will be proposed later this year followed by an additional comment period.