“If the final rule mirrors those outlined in the current proposal, there is a significant risk that the program will fail to meet the intent of the legislation, and that a historic opportunity to transform the nation's healthcare system will be missed,” said William Jessee, MGMA president and CEO—who recently announced he would retire in fall 2011—in a news release. “We remain strong advocates for the adoption of EHRs in medical groups and urge the administration to significantly streamline the incentive program requirements in the final rule to permit dramatically larger numbers of practices to embrace this important technology.”
The MGMA released a sample of the comments received with the survey, including one that noted how the rules would require organizations to rely on outside organizations to fulfill all the meaningful-use criteria.
“We have been using an EHR very effectively for over five years, but many of these meaningful-use criteria are dependent on other outside agencies (i.e. health departments, hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid) having systems that can be interfaced with existing systems,” one comment said. “We are a for-profit (tax-paying) clinic and to deny us the opportunity to use tax dollars to upgrade and expand our EHR because other agencies are unable or unwilling to comply is just plain wrong.”
Just over 55% of respondents said they currently use an EHR to store patient medical and demographic information, almost 32% of the respondents said they are currently using paper records and charts, while the rest use a hybrid of both or some other form of record system with almost 3% saying the question didn't apply to their organization.
The Englewood, Colo.-based MGMA has about 21,500 members who lead 13,700 healthcare organizations where some 275,000 physicians practice. Of the 352 survey respondents who answered the question on practice size, 31% (109) said they work with one to five doctors, 21% (74) are in practices with six to 10 physicians, 19.3% (68) work in an 11-to 20-physician practice, and 27.6% (97) work in larger practices. For another four respondents (1.1%), the question did not apply.
What do you think? Write us with your comments at [email protected]. Please include your name, title and hometown.