CHICAGO — Dr. Steven Stack, president of the American Medical Assoc. (AMA), issued a statement this week regarding electronic health records and meaningful-use goals.
“While the American Medical Association is still in the process of reviewing the meaningful-use regulations published today, we are pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) listened to the AMA and the concerns of physicians in several key areas in the modifications rule,” Stack said. “In particular, the agency addressed the delay in issuing the modifications rule by allowing a hardship exemption for physicians who are unable to attest this year, providing needed relief for those uncertain about the 2015 program requirements. We also acknowledge that the agency is working to improve patient engagement by ensuring that patients can access portals while still providing flexibility in the measure requirements.
“The AMA continues to believe that stage 3 requires significant changes to ensure successful participation and improve the usability and interoperability of electronic health record systems,” he went on. “We urge CMS to use the additional public-comment period provided for stage 3 to further improve the program and consider changes related to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law earlier this year. We also want to make sure that EHR vendors have the time they need to further test products for interoperability, usability, safety, and security. We hope that health IT certification is nimble enough to accommodate future technology innovations and that the program not seen as final at this time.
Stack concluded that “the AMA recognizes that physicians continue to struggle with the meaningful-use program; however, we hope the decision by CMS to leave stage 3 open to additional comment will allow for further improvements in the program and promote technological innovation that supports patient care.”