- American Medical Association president-elect Steven J. Sack, MD, issued a statement expressing his organization's disapproval of CMS' forthcoming penalties against physicians who aren't meeting meaningful use requirements under its EHR Incentive Program.
- "The American Medical Association is appalled by news from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [Wednesday] that more than 50% of eligible professionals will face penalties under the Meaningful Use program in 2015, a number that is even worse than we anticipated," said the statement.
- While the meaningful use program was intended to increase physician use of technology to help improve care and efficiency, the strict set of one-size-fits-all requirements is failing physicians and their patients, Sack said. "They are hindering participation in the program, forcing physicians to purchase expensive electronic health records with poor usability that disrupts workflow, creates significant frustrations and interferes with patient care and imposes an administrative burden," said the statement.
The AMA's statement underscores the difficulties physicians face on all fronts: financial, operational and patient care. While the goals of the EHR Incentive Program are well-intentioned, Sack's criticism is on point in addressing the numerous difficulties healthcare providers face.
"The penalties physicians are facing under the Meaningful Use program are part of a regulatory tsunami facing physicians, apart from the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula, that could include cuts from the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Value-based Modifier Program (VBM) and the sequester, further destabilizing physician practices and creating a disincentive to see Medicare patients," Sack's statement continued. "According to the Administration, only half of eligible physicians participated in PQRS in 2013, meaning many will incur penalties from both the Meaningful Use and PQRS programs."