While the Federal Government’s promotion of EHRs via the HITECH act has been successful at increasing the prevalence of EHRs, their continued advocacy of Certified EHRs, Meaningful Use (MU) mandates and MACRA seriously impedes innovation in health information technology realms. For this reason, I think it is time for our Federal politicians to alter provisions of the HITECH ACT so as to end all legal mandates resulting in Certified EHRs, MU and MACRA.
Unfortunately most medical societies have been complicit with the Federal Government / ONC by making encouraging public statements about the evolution of MU into MACRA, and refusing to advocate for an alteration in Federal law which would end the legal underpinnings of MU, MACRA and ONC Certified EHRs. It is my opinion that these organizations are fearful of antagonizing the Federal Government and concerned that if they did such advocacy work, they would be excluded from influencing ONC’s evolution of the HITECH mandates.
Given the failure of these organizations to take a definitive stand against MU, MACRA and ONC Certified EHRs, it is time for the physician to take control of the reins of their organization and use their organization’s influence to end these HITECH mandates.
In that vein, I have submitted the below resolution to the Massachusetts Medical Society which, if passed by the next House of Delegates (HOD) meeting, will make it the official policy of the MMS to use it’s political influence to end these Federal mandates. Of course, the resolution will have to get through several procedural hurdles before it is presented to the MMS HOD members for a vote.
Resolution to End MACRA, Meaningful Use and ONC Certified EHRs Programs/Mandates
Whereas: The High Tech Act of 2009 mandated the creation of the Office of National Coordinator (ONC), Meaningful Use, MACRA and “Certified” EHRs as a means to promote the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) by the medical community; and
Whereas: The High Tech Act of 2009 has successfully resulted in the wide spread adoption of EHRs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and
Whereas: The Federal Government’s continued promotion of ONC Certified EHRs inhibits innovation in the health information technology realm (ref 1,2); and
Whereas: Federal and State financial penalties will force physicians to utilize ONC Certified EHRs; and
Whereas: The MMS HOD (May 2016) adopted “Principles Governing the Implementation of Health Information Technology” and the following resolves will help advance those Principles; and
Whereas: The MMS Strategic Priorities for 2016–2017 include “Physician advocacy: Ensure the MMS is a productive and credible voice at the state and federal level for physicians in any practice environment or setting” and the following resolves will advance those priorities;
RESOLVED, That the MMS will use its influence on our State and Federal Representatives to end all legal requirements and financial penalties on the medical profession arising from the High Tech Act of 2009, Meaningful Use, MACRA and ONC’s Certified EHR programs and, be it further
RESOLVED, That the MMS will encourage our Massachusetts’ Senators Elizabeth Warren, Senator Edward Markey and Representatives Richard Neal, Jim McGovern, Niki Tsongas, Joseph P. Kennedy III, Katherine Clark, Seth Moulton, Mike Capuano, Stephen Lynch and Bill Keating as well as President Barak Obama to immediately introduce Federal legislation to legally end the Meaningful Use, MACRA and ONC’s Certified EHR program
1.Halamka, John, The Five Year Plan. The Health Care Blog June 7, 2016, https://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2016/06/07/five-year-plan/
- Halamka, John, FUD Part II: The Return of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. The Health Care Blog June 13, 2016, https://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2016/06/13/fud-part-ii-the-return-of-fear-uncertainty-and-doubt/
I would like to ask all physicians to use their influence (via email, blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media) to encourage innovation in the HIT realm by demanding that our Federal representatives alter the requisite laws to end the ONC’s Certified EHR, MU and MACRA programs and specifically limit the Federal Government’s role in the HIT realm to promulgating standards and security guidelines which will facilitate the exchange of medical information between EHRs, medical apps, patients and providers.
Hayward Zwerling, M.D.