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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology and Quality

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How do providers demonstrate Meaningful Use?

CMS’ Final Rule specifies functional objectives and clinical quality measures that eligible professionals and eligible hospitals must meet to demonstrate Stage 1 Meaningful Use.   

Functional objectives require that you complete core and menu set measures.  

  • Core objectives:  All applicable core objectives and their measures must be reported
  • Menu set objectives:  Providers must select 5 from a set of 10 menu set objectives and then report on these measures

Clinical quality measures require submission of core (or alternate core) and alternate set measures.  

  • Core clinical:  All required core measures must be submitted, unless not applicable
    • Alternate core:  Alternate core measures may be submitted when the core are not applicable to a provider (e.g., adult weight screening and follow-up would not be relevant to a pediatrician)
  • Alternate set (for eligible professionals only): Providers must select 3 from a set of 38 measures and submit data on these measures

As shown below, eligible professionals must complete 20 functional objectives and 6 clinical quality measures; eligible hospitals must complete 19 functional objectives and 15 clinical quality measures.  

Required Number of Functional Measures and Clinical Quality Measures


Functional Measures

Clinical Quality Measures



Menu set


Core/Alternate core

Alternate set


Eligible professionals







Eligible hospitals







In their first year participating in the program, Medicaid eligible professionals and hospitals do not need to demonstrate Meaningful Use, and thus, are not required to report results of objectives and measures.  They may use their first year of participation instead to adopt, implement, or upgrade existing EHR technologies.  In such cases, the providers should attest to this and may be required to show proof of this purchase.  For the remaining years of program participation (Years 2 to 6), they must demonstrate and electronically report on Meaningful Use measures.  Allowing Medicaid eligible providers one year to adopt, implement, or upgrade their EHR technologies provides them a year’s worth of leeway and financial assistance in getting their EHR system operational before they must demonstrate Meaningful Use.

Related Resources:

EHR Incentive Program – CMS’ overview of Meaningful Use and program requirements.  
Electronic Health Records and Meaningful Use – ONC provides background to providers and consumers on and the benefits of electronic health records.  
Tips for Implementing Meaningful Use in the Safety Net Community go to exit disclaimer – HRSA OHITQ webinar that offers guidance to providers for successfully achieving meaningful use and overcoming challenging barriers.  
How One Hospital Intends to Show Meaningful Use of IT go to exit disclaimer – Podcast, interview with Sue Schade, Vice President and CIO of Brigham and Women's and Faulkner's Hospitals.
Getting Started: A Meaningful Use Checklist
go to exit disclaimer – Presentation and checklist by Peter Cucchiara, the Institute for Family Health, to help providers assess readiness for demonstrating Meaningful Use.   

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