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CMA comments on HHS proposal to reduce health IT burden

February 04, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Health Information Technology Electronic Health Records 


Physicians are overwhelmed with unnecessary, burdensome regulations that take time and resources away from providing quality patient care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a draft strategy designed to help reduce administrative and regulatory burden on clinicians caused by the use of health information technology (health IT) such as electronic health records (EHRs).

The draft Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs was led by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as required in the 21st Century Cures Act.

The California Medical Association (CMA) this week submitted comments on the proposal, urging HHS to implement strategies that prioritize interoperability and the use of technology to improve patient care.

Among CMA’s recommendations were:

  • CMA supports standardizing and automating prior authorization processes to reduce the burden on physicians, as well as improving real-time access to payer requirements for prior authorization.
  • ONC should require EHR vendors to design systems that are usable based on the needs of medical practice in order to receive CEHRT approval, and impose penalties when these standards are not met.
  • ONC should strengthen CEHRT interoperability standards and utilize enforcement mechanisms to secure compliance from EHR vendors
  • ONC should require greater consistency across EHR systems to encourage sharing of clinical data
  • Simplify and reduce the quality measure reporting physicians are required to complete for federal programs
  • ONC should improve its enforcement against vendors who participate in data blocking or violate other certification requirements and help develop systems that allow for automatic extraction of data measures from EHRs
  • ONC should work with states’ existing regulatory standards to promote interoperability between PDMPs and EHRs

CMA also reemphasized its strong opposition to  the proposal to collapse the E/M office visit codes from eight to two for both new and established patients, and disagrees that the added documentation reduction from the code collapse-single payment proposal as envisioned by CMS will be realized.

For more information, see CMA’s comments.

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