Although the American Academy of Family Physicians agrees with many of the stated goals of the proposed meaningful-use criteria for receiving federal subsidies for health IT investments, the CMS needs to “significantly modify the proposed rule,” said Ted Epperly, board chairman of the group, in a seven-page letter to acting CMS Administrator Charlene Frizzera.
“This new set of ‘meaningful use' regulations shares a similar vision and objectives with AAFP policy, and we are excited about the potential health IT progress made possible with these regulations,” Epperly wrote. “We are especially encouraged by the focus on care coordination, quality, and patient-centeredness. It is our hope that we can move the healthcare system rapidly toward more patient-centered, coordinated, and reliably high quality care.”
Epperly then went on to note several details in the proposed rule that the AAFP found “unworkable, excessive or redundant, and will actually impede the very goals of the legislation.”
The letter said that the administrative burden of reporting computerized physician order-entry measures “is excessive to the point of being unachievable for most eligible providers.” Another concern was that the rule could require manually entering results from laboratories that don't have an interoperable interface with the physician's electronic health record.
The letter notes that the term “health information” is used throughout the proposed rule, but never explicitly defined. Also, a requirement that a patient's health information be shared with that patient within 48 hours doesn't take into account that physicians or their staff may not be able to process the information if that 48-hour period includes weekend days.
The AAFP also called for partial payment of financial incentives for physicians who met less than 100% of the proposed requirements and argued against the current all-or-nothing approach.