The MGMA sent a letter to David Blumenthal warning that if done poorly the ARRA’s EMR stimulus money could result in “the needless squandering of resources and significant disruption to the nation’s healthcare system.”
The bNet Healthcare blog gives a summary of MGMA’s recommendations to avoid this situation:
- The meaningful use criteria should be easily adoptable in a wide range of practice settings, including small practices and rural practices.
- Between the date of the final rule and the 2011 start date of the incentive program, the government should conduct a pilot to ensure that “the process of demonstrating meaningful use is achievable and practical.”
- Instead of using a “pass/fail” structure, the government should inform physicians of whether they meet the criteria and give them an opportunity to modify their systems and submit corrected data.
- There should be a simplified process for physician attestation of their use of EHRs, to be verified through random audits.
- If vendors cannot provide “appropriate and cost-efficient products” that enable physicians to show meaningful use, the government should use its statutory authority to provide a low-cost EHR that meets those criteria.
- Doctors should be able to use a range of methods of reporting quality data, including claims-based information, and they should be able to test their reporting systems before the incentive start date.
- The government should create a website and toll-free telephone numbers so that physicians can report problems with vendors.
I especially like the pilot program idea since one of my biggest complaints about previous government healthcare IT incentives was that many people planned and hoped for the government money and some catch left them empty handed.