HHS says looser rules for health records will spur job creation

The Obama administration said Wednesday that it would relax certain healthcare regulations in its push to create jobs without waiting for Congress.

The Health and Human Services Department said looser standards for electronic health records are the latest piece of the administration’s “we can’t wait” campaign. The gradual conversion to electronic records has already created 50,000 jobs since 2009, according to HHS.

“We’re making great progress, but we can’t wait to do more,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a release. “Too many doctors and hospitals are still using the same record-keeping technology as Hippocrates.”

The changes announced Wednesday will give doctors more time to adjust to new standards for electronic records. Previously, doctors who participated in HHS’ incentive program for electronic records had to meet specific standards within two years. Now, those standards won’t be mandatory until 2014, even for doctors who sign up next year.

The American Hospital Association praised the move.

"While growing numbers of hospitals will meet the … requirements over time, this delay will help strengthen the EHR incentive program in its ability to support care system transformation and health information exchange," AHA President Rich Umbdenstock said in a statement.