MGMA president’s open letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from Susan Turney, MD, MS, FACMPE, FACP president and CEO, that is an important summation of the current meaningful use Stage 2 situation facing physicians and caregivers:
August 21, 2013
The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius Secretary Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Ave., S.W.
Room 445-G Washington, DC 20201
RE: Stage 2 meaningful use EHR Incentive Program
Dear Secretary Sebelius:
The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) writes today to share our concerns regarding the current meaningful use environment and diminished opportunity for physician practices to meet the requirements for Stage 2 of the program. If the appropriate steps are not taken, we believe physicians that have made significant investments in EHR technology and successfully completed Stage 1 requirements will be unfairly subject to negative Medicare payment adjustments. Accordingly, HHS should immediately institute an indefinite moratorium on penalties for physicians that successfully completed Stage 1 meaningful use requirements.
Say it isn’t so: Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, is going the way of David Blumenthal and is exiting the position he has held for more than two years.
He announced today that will leave this fall, according to a letter by U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Mostashari has served as National Coordinator since April 2011. Mostashari served as deputy national coordinator prior to his current post.
“During this time of great accomplishment, Farzad has been an important advisor to me and many of us across the Department. His expertise, enthusiasm and commitment to innovation and health IT will surely be missed. In the short term, he will continue to serve in this role while a search is underway for a replacement,” Sebelius said in the letter.
Mostashari spent four years with ONC.
“During his tenure, ONC has been at the forefront of designing and implementing a number of initiatives to promote the adoption of health IT among health care providers,” Sebelius wrote in the memo. “Farzad has seen through the successful design and implementation of ONC’s HITECH programs, which provide health IT training and guidance to communities and providers; linked the meaningful use of electronic health records to population health goals; and laid a strong foundation for increasing the interoperability of health records — all while ensuring the ultimate focus remains on patients and their families.”
Fortuneteller Farzad Mostashari said recently that a lull in adoption of EHRs is expected, by him, and that 2014 will be a huge – banner – year for the adoption of the technology to participate in the meaningful use program, since 2014 is the last year to participate and still be eligible for federal incentives.
The penalty phase begins in 2015.
The incentive program is having a clear impact on adoption of the technology, as we all know. Without the “free” federal money and the threat of cuts in reimbursements, motivation to implement the oft described as burdensome technology was lagging.
However, the tools that allow us to do extraordinary things contribute to nearly all of the problems physicians and their practices face in healthcare. IT is to blame for healthcare’s problems; not lack of payment reform, overarching government intrusion, lack of research, the fact that doctors are only able to spend about eight minutes with each patient per visit, etc.