CMS announces it will work to reduce meaningful use reporting burden

February 04, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Payor Issues and Reimbursement Practice Management 

After repeated calls for changes from the American Medical Association (AMA), the California Medical Association (CMA) and other physician groups nationwide, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it would address the meaningful use issues raised by providers and make changes to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program to “reduce the reporting burden, while supporting the long term goals of the program.” CMS said it would issue new rules governing the program this spring.

Beginning January 1, 2015, Medicare physicians who have not successfully attested to meaningful use of an EHR system may incur payment penalties.

Last fall, CMS made a stunning announcement that while 78 percent of physicians are using an EHR, more than 50 percent of eligible physicians will face penalties under the meaningful use program in 2015. Moreover, only of half of eligible physicians participated in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) program in 2013. By 2017, physicians could face up to 11 percent in combined payment penalties from these and other Medicare penalty programs. (For more details about the various Medicare incentive and penalty programs, see “Medicare Incentive and Penalty Programs: What physicians need to know,” available free to members in CMA’s online resource library.)

In a recent letter to CMS, AMA said that the meaningful use program, which was originally “intended to increase physician use of technology to improve patient care,” was hindering physician participation by setting a strict set of one-size-fits-all requirements that forced physicians to purchase expensive EHR systems with frustratingly poor usability that resulted in interfering with patient care.

AMA and CMA have called on CMS to make the meaningful use program more practical and flexible to ensure the intended improvements in patient care and practice efficiencies. The reforms include the consolidation and alignment of the quality and meaningful use programs; requiring interoperability and the exchange of information in a meaningful format and the simplification of the certification process; a reduction in penalties and reinstatement incentive payments; allowing physicians to meet no more than 10 required measures; and expanding the options for specialists.

For more information about the EHR incentive programs, click here.

Contact: Elizabeth McNeil, (800) 786-4262 or emcneil@cmadocs.org.


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