AMA and Other Medical Societies Call for a Pause in the Meaningful Use Program

WASHINGTON - Sept. 17, 2015 - The American Medical Association (AMA) and 41 medical societies today urged the administration to pause the final stages of the federal government’s Meaningful Use program in light of pivotal changes to Medicare. The coalition of physician organizations believe that locking in Stage 3 rules for the Meaningful Use program would be an unwise step that undermines the implementation of Medicare payment reforms.

In letters delivered today to the Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, the physician organizations noted that the proposed Stage 3 regulation was developed prior to and without consideration of the changes enacted by the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Given the vital role of the Meaningful Use program in the reformed payment systems introduced by MACRA, proceeding with the proposed Stage 3 rules threatens to impede the health care delivery innovations Congress sought to promote when it passed the law.

“There is growing bipartisan recognition in Congress that the direction of the Meaningful Use program needs to be reassessed in light of usability and interoperability challenges with electronic health record systems,” said AMA President Steven J. Stack, M.D. “Poorly performing systems that do not facilitate the seamless exchange of data would severely undermine the ability of the health system to support the implementation of the payment reforms outlined in MACRA.”

The AMA believes that pausing Stage 3 at this time will provide the opportunity to evaluate the environment and work with the administration to implement the needed changes to the Meaningful Use program that are currently under consideration.

“The AMA wants the Meaningful Use program to succeed. Pausing to reassess Stage 3 rules will not stop or delay progress with EHRs,” said Dr. Stack. “On the contrary, we firmly believe a temporary period of reevaluation will help move the program forward and drive innovation and adoption.”

The AMA is committed to supporting policies at every level of government that improve patient health, enhance access to affordable, quality care and that protect the privacy and trusted interactions patients have with physicians. Visit BreaktheRedTape.org to learn more about EHRs and Meaningful Use, contact members of Congress, or share experiences.

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About the American Medical Association (AMA) Since 1847 the American Medical Association has had one mission: to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. Today, the core strategy used to carry out this mission is our concerted effort to help doctors help patients. We do this by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues. In 2011 our strategic plan focuses on five areas that encompass the central elements in health system reform: Access to care Quality of care Cost of health care Prevention and wellness Payment models Vist the AMA's 2011 strategic plan at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/strategic-issues.page These topics represent the major areas of emphasis in which the AMA carries out its mission in the current environment. Our proposed actions are not only directed at solving reform issues at the policy level, but also at helping physicians adapt to—and adopt—changes in a productive way. To learn more about how the AMA is moving medicine forward, read our flyer at: http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/about-ama/moving-medicine-forward.pdf.