MGMA Letter to David Blumenthal About HITECH Act’s EMR Stimulus Money

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.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.