Also, under the heading "Changes to the Rule Resulting from AMA Advocacy," the memo notes that efforts are under way to align the timing of different CMS programs. Specifically, it details how the EHR subsidy program must be integrated with the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative by Jan. 1, 2012.
Nevertheless, the AMA—following the lead of the American Hospital Association (see "Come and get IT: multicampus melee")—expressed several concerns: a short time frame for EHR implementation, a lack of available EHR products that supply all functions needed to meet meaningful-use criteria, the ineligibility of hospital-based physicians to receive subsidies, the lack of an appeals process, and the system upgrades that EHR early adopters must undertake to qualify for subsidies.
"The final requirements for the meaningful use of EHRs are an improvement over previous drafts, but challenges still remain that will make it difficult for physicians to meet the requirements—especially physicians in solo and small practices," AMA trustee Steven Stack said in a news release. "The AMA is committed to EHR adoption that streamlines the clinical and business functions of a physician office and helps physicians provide the highest quality care to patients."