MGMA urges hold on MU penalties

August 24, 2013 in Medical Technology

Citing concern about vendor readiness and that “significant investments” in EHR technology could go for naught, MGMA leadership is calling on HHS for an indefinite moratorium on meaningful use penalties for physicians who have completed Stage 1 meaningful use requirements.

The association of physician practice administrators is one of several that has recently called on federal officials to adjust parts of the meaningful use program.

[See also: Keep Stage 2 start as is, says HIMSS.]

In an Aug. 21 letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, MGMA President and CEO Susan Turney wrote about physician concerns over the diminished opportunity for physician practices to meet the requirements of Stage 2.

MGMA represents 22,500 members who lead 13,200 organizations nationwide. Those physician practices include about 280,000 physicians that provide more than 40 percent of the healthcare services delivered in the United States.

In the letter, Turney notes: “Currently, there are more than 2,200 products and almost 1,400 ‘complete EHRs’ certified under the 2011 criteria for ambulatory EPs. As of this writing, there are only 75 products and 21 complete EHRs certified for the Stage 2 (2014) criteria. This lack of vendor readiness has significant implications for EPs.”

[See also: AAFP urges meaningful use delay.]

“Without the appropriate software upgrades and timely vendor support,” Turney continued, “EPs will be unable to meet the Stage 2 requirements and thus will be unfairly penalized starting in 2015.

Turney stressed the MGMA’s long-term support of federal efforts on meaningful use as a way to improve clinical performance and derive efficiencies.

“However, it has become clear that the alignment between the more rigorous Stage 2 requirements and the ability of the vendor community to produce and deploy Stage 2,” she wrote.

In the letter, Turney details concern over marketplace readiness, citing lengthy wait times for installations and training.

“We are also concerned that the current ‘all or nothing’ approach to achieving meaningful use may prove to be problematic for EPs attempting to meet the more stringent Stage 2 requirements,” she stated.

MGMA also put forth four additional recommendations:

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