HITECH Act

The following information has been compiled to keep Academy members updated on its efforts to respond to this opportunity and to encourage member participation in development of electronic health records in the various practice settings.

A Critical Time for Academy and Health Information Technology

Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, which included two sections addressing health information technology. Together, the sections are known as the "HITECH" (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act. The HITECH Act was intended to promote adoption of HIT by providing Medicare/Medicaid financial incentives to primary physicians and small hospitals who adopt electronic health records in the next five years, and by developing an infrastructure for supporting best practices in HIT implementation, work process redesign, security and privacy considerations, and other critical factors.

The HITECH Act mandates a definition for "meaningful use" of electronic health records with a very aggressive timeline. The pertinence to registered dietitians, dietetic technicians registered and all Academy members can be summarized by two important facts:

  • The HITECH Act now targets only a small portion of "eligible professionals," or EPs, for incentive payments. It does not include RDs or DTRs, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists or speech and language pathologists. Physician EPs must fall within the definition provided by the rule.
  • The HITECH Act will exclude RDs and DTRs only if we allow it to. The Academy has been working for more than a decade to position RDs and DTRs for inclusion in this kind of care. The Nutrition Care Process, Standardized Language Committee, Evidence –Based Practice Committee, Quality Management Committee, Coding and Coverage Committee, Legislative and Public Policy Committee and Nutrition Informatics Committee are among the many Academyorganizational units working to create a solid foundation for our integration into this infrastructure.

Positioning RDNs and DTRs as Leaders in Health Information Technology

The Academy submitted comments on the following two items on March 15, 2010:

  • Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the EHR Incentive Program (this proposed rule affects standards and quality measures in health care);
  • Interim Final Rule on Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for EHR Technology

Additional Information

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