Washington, DC — Additional changes to rules governing the meaningful use of electronic health records, beyond those announced last week, are needed to address the immediate challenges 90 percent of physicians face in attempting to comply with the standards, according to the American Osteopathic Association.
While the long-awaited Meaningful Use regulations provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will help physicians move forward with their Stage 2 obligations, the rules do nothing to address the most onerous provision, the program’s current all-or-nothing, pass/fail approach. Beyond unnecessarily penalizing physicians who invested in the technology upgrades required, the well-documented interoperability challenges are hindering the goal of improving quality and lowering the cost of health care.
“When only 10 percent of providers are in compliance, it’s clear that a substantial overhaul is needed in order for EHRs to achieve their stated purpose,” said John Becher, DO, president of the American Osteopathic Association. “At this juncture, the meaningful use program as it stands is not strengthening the critical physician-patient relationship that osteopathic physicians hold sacred, which is exactly the opposite of the law’s intent.”
Previous attempts to fix the meaningful use rules resulted in some constructive modifications, Dr. Becher noted, but the timeline finalized in the rule for Stage 3 implementation is out of alignment with anticipated streamlined reporting set to begin in 2019. That standard was created as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act passed earlier this year.
The American Osteopathic Association looks forward to working with the agency to improve the goals and timing of these important programs, Dr. Becher said, and will be submitting constructive feedback on the rules during the 60-day comment period.
“On behalf of the nation’s 122,000 osteopathic medical students and physicians (DOs), we urge CMS to address physicians’ concerns and ensure the new system will promote better, more coordinated care for patients. Physicians’ perspectives can help drive solutions, if our voices are heard by the rule makers,” Dr. Becher added.
About the American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 122,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.
(312) 202-8043 (Office)