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AMA Continues to Urge Congress to Delay Meaningful Use

“The AMA wants the Meaningful Use program to succeed, but swift Congressional action is needed to refocus the goals of the program on promoting better coordinated and high-quality patient care instead of burdensome, administrative tasks for physicians.”

By Sara Heath

Earlier this week, the American Medical Association (AMA) and its House of Delegates met to discuss various health industry policies, specifically ones related to health IT and EHR use. The delegates passed association policies about both Meaningful Use and health IT in regulating opioid prescriptions.

american medical association meaningful use

AMA maintained its stance against the implementation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) EHR Incentive Programs final rule, saying that the agency should halt the implementation of Stage 3.

This urgent call for action comes in the wake of the administration’s decision to move ahead with implementation of Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use (MU) program despite widespread failure of Stage 2,” says an AMA news release.

To alleviate those pressures from Stage 3 Meaningful Use, AMA is calling on Congress to revise some of the quality measures included in the final rule, and to speed up the process of universal adoption of a functional EHR interoperability mandate.

“Today the AMA adopted new policy that seeks revisions to quality standards and MU requirements to make them more streamlined, usable and less burdensome. The AMA also adopted new policy that would enhance its efforts to accelerate the development and adoption of universal and enforceable electronic health record (EHR) interoperability standards for all vendors,” AMA stated.

AMA officials explained although they support the ideals of Meaningful Use in theory, the program is flawed and needs refocusing. Furthermore, officials stated that in order for Meaningful Use to be an effective policy, Congress needs to take action to compel CMS to make the proper revisions.

“The AMA wants the Meaningful Use program to succeed, but swift Congressional action is needed to refocus the goals of the program on promoting better coordinated and high-quality patient care instead of burdensome, administrative tasks for physicians,” said AMA Immediate Past Chair Barbara L. McAneny, M.D.

In addition to passing policies regarding Meaningful Use, AMA Delegates passed policies regarding health IT and the role it plays in streamlining opioid prescription rates. According to AMA, the increased use of health IT can aid in decreasing the number of potentially unnecessary opioid prescriptions, and therefore the number of preventable drug-related adverse events.

The Delegates discussed developing a model for state registration for prescription drug monitoring systems, which will in turn potentially decrease the number of opioid prescriptions and drug-related adverse events.

“The AMA strongly supports ensuring patient privacy protections, interstate interoperability of PDMPs as well as improving the functionality and workflow of these tools to help physicians make informed prescribing decisions,” the association confirmed.

Furthermore, AMA explained that Meaningful Use should be delayed until these goals for opioid prescription monitoring are met, stating that EHR and PDMPs must integrate before providers can meet other goals included in Stage 3 Meaningful Use.

“The policy adopted today also calls on the federal government to delay its Meaningful Use (MU) program until real-time integration between EHRs and PDMPs is achieved and electronic prescribing of schedule II and III drugs is available for the country’s MU certified EHRs,” AMA said.

AMA states that these policies will support the nationwide effort to put an end to opioid abuse.

“The AMA is committed to continuing its work with the administration and Congress as well as state leaders on efforts that will modernize and fully fund PDMPs,” said AMA Board Member Patrice A. Harris, M.D. “As part of our ongoing work with the Task Force to Reduce Opioid Abuse, we will continue to work together with physicians and health care professionals on efforts to help bring an end to our country’s opioid crisis.”

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