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MGMA Concerned About ARRA's EHR Incentive Logistics

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) sent a series of recommendations aimed at improving the EHR incentive programs mandated as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to David Blumenthal, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The MGMA asserts that if the program is not developed and administered appropriately, large numbers of medical groups will fail to achieve “meaningful use” and not qualify for the incentives.
In its letter to Blumenthal, the MGMA recommended the following:

• Instituting a pilot test prior to the start of the program and before each new phase of the program;

• Only including criteria for meaningful use that have widespread industry use or have been pilot-tested;  

• Using only those meaningful use administrative criteria that are appropriate and achievable;

• Instituting a process to permit physicians to test their reporting systems prior to their “go-live” date;

• Permitting flexibility in achieving meaningful use and avoiding a “pass/fail” approach;

• Developing a simple process for physicians to attest that they have achieved meaningful use;

• Simplifying the data-reporting process and ensuring that the government is ready to accept the data; and

• Closely monitoring the industry to ensure that the program logistics operate appropriately. In addition, it is critical to monitor the vendor community for its ability to produce high-quality and reasonably priced software.

“In developing the incentive program logistics, the federal government must ensure that concepts of practicality and achievability serve as the foundation of the process,” says William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, MGMA president and CEO. “Should clinicians encounter significant and burden some program-related roadblocks and hurdles in their efforts to achieve and prove that they are meaningful users of an EHR, the government runs the risk of not fulfilling the legislation’s directive, and the program could fail to bring about the system improvements many of us envision.”  

Source: Medical Group Management Association