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Medical practice managers seek EHR penalty moratorium in 2015

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 2, 2013

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Medical group practice administrators are calling on the Obama administration to prevent Medicare payment penalties under the federal electronic health record adoption initiative for physicians. They seek the penalty removal for doctors who already have demonstrated meaningful use of the paperless systems but whose systems do not meet the tougher standards in the next phase of the program.

MGMA-ACMPE, an organization representing medical practice managers, wrote an Aug. 21 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius citing concerns over EHR vendor readiness and asking for a penalty moratorium. Physician practices achieving stage 1 of meaningful use by 2012 will proceed to stage 2 in 2014. All doctors are expected to demonstrate meaningful use by 2014, with noncompliance triggering a 1% penalty on Medicare pay in 2015.

“As of this writing, there are only 75 products and 21 complete EHRs certified for the stage 2 (2014) criteria,” the MGMA-ACMPE letter stated. “This lack of vendor readiness has significant implications for [eligible professionals]. Without the appropriate software upgrades and timely vendor support, [eligible professionals] will be unable to meet the stage 2 requirements and thus will be unfairly penalized starting in 2015.”

The American Medical Association also opposes penalties and has called for modifications to the meaningful use program. However, the Obama administration has resisted calls to delay EHR penalties and implementation of stage 2.

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