This September, the American Medical Association (AMA) joined with 41 medical societies to urge Congress and the administration to pause the final stages of the federal government’s Meaningful Use program. The coalition of physician groups believes that moving forward with the Meaningful Use program as it currently stands would undermine the implementation of Medicare payment reforms. The call for a delay from this coalition is just the latest in a growing number of experts who are calling for a substantive change in the implementation of Meaningful Use.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Sylvia M. Burwell, the AMA pointed out that, while 80 percent of physicians are now utilizing EHRs, less than 10 percent of physicians have participated in Meaningful Use Stage 2. Furthermore, as Senator Lemar Alexander pointed out recently, “Patients need an interoperable system that enables doctors and hospitals to share their electronic health records, but the government, doctors, and hospitals need time to do it right,”
At Keystone IT, we would like to lend our voice to the growing concern and urge HHS to immediately accept the following proposed rule changes for Meaningful Use Stage 2:
- Realign the reporting period starting in 2015 to allow hospitals to participate on the calendar year instead of the current fiscal year period;
- Reduce the number of Meaningful Use objectives to improve advanced use of EHRs; and
- Remove redundant measures and those that have become widely adopted.
Furthermore, we also encourage HHS to delay Meaningful Use Stage 3 in order to assess the program and implement the needed changes. It is our hope that Stage 3 rules, once implemented, will be phased in at a rate that reflects how successful the program is being implemented.
At Keystone IT, we want the Meaningful Use program to succeed. Our vision is to enable and empower every patient to control and improve his or her own health. We firmly believe that the best way to accomplish this is to provide a platform by which patients are able to control their data and outcomes. Meaningful Use provides the opportunity for this to happen. As AMA President Steven J. Stack, MD wrote in his letter, “We firmly believe a temporary period of reevaluation will help move the program forward and drive innovation and adoption.”