A Different Kind of Meaningful Use Penalty

Our clinic is worried about qualifying for this year’s Meaningful Use incentive payments. We have this hastily purchased EMR that was supposed to make life easier and quality better for all of us. The EMR vendor got paid a long time ago but we are still dealing with the administrative burdens imposed by our new system.

By attesting that we can use this thing reasonably properly, we can receive some Government incentive monies, which even under the best of circumstances don’t even begin to make up for all the extra expenses and productivity losses we have incurred through going digital.

What we are up against is a product that doesn’t do, or doesn’t easily do, what we were told it could.

And the vendor isn’t working real hard to help us achieve Meaningful Use.

I know how things could get better:

Every quarter, impose a rebate of 25% of each EMR purchase price, paid by the vendor to each practice that isn’t able to use their product as promised. That would place the problem where it belongs, instead of with the hapless consumer. I think that would speed up product improvement and tech support a whole lot.

Compare today’s struggle to achieve Meaningful Use with what happened with faulty General Motors ignition switches, exploding Takata airbags and polluting Volkswagen diesels. Nobody blamed the consumer for such problems.

Why, then, are medical providers held responsible for having bought, under pressure, less than functional electronic medical records?

Make the EMR vendors attest instead of us!

Categories: Uncategorized

5 replies »

  1. The idea of imposing 25% rebate off to those systems that do not offer what promised is actually not a bad one. Working in a demanding pediatric office, we agreed on signing for Meaningful use with a “awarded EMR”. The web-based interface was bought/leased and received a 1 day training on how to use it (scheduling appointments, vital signs, e-rx…) with very little feedback or response when prompted with an issue (unless emailing the big guys). So the lack of involvement of these vendors ended up on delays on the services requested by the patients (appointments, RXs, medical report requests, etc). So why not switching the physician’s burden and make it even with the EMR vendors? Why not imposing provisions that will require vendors to be available when needed, or to customized certain forms for the physician’s benefit? The incentives granted by the government are not worth it and it is why not all physicians are participating. It’s either that or buying a reliable EMR that will assist physicians in any issue prompted. The only repercussion: their affordability.

  2. Agreed. Don’t participate. Starve the beast of attention and it withers away. Let’s hope all these nonsense regulations and rules get trashed on Jan 20, 2017. or soon after. The trainwreck can’t be stopped on dime, but it can certainly be slowed to a crawl to minimize damage. I refuse to buy a product that I don’t like, don’t understand, and don’t have a need for. Paper charts in my little office until Gestapo come knocking. Take the penalties and earn less (horror!) and maybe learn a new language in my spare time of not clicking boxes and checking whether the patient had a flu shot, or not.

  3. Farzad, one of the MU architects and NON-practicing, never finished training MD, should be apologizing daily for the mess he unleashed on the real MDs working out here. My suggestion. Take the penalties. Do not participate. That passive aggression actually kills the desire of ONC and Washington DC and CMS from unleashing more MACRA type regulations on us. Don’t worry, MACRA will fail too. But we are going to have to suffer some penalties until it goes away.

  4. Along the way, how about a class action lawsuit naming the Institute of Medicine, since they advised Congress to do the emr legislation? I know, yep I know, you can’t sue the Federal government without their approval. The original Rand Study commissioned by the IOM was funded substantially by General Electric and Cerner. A monthly note to your Congressional representatives would be in order. I’ll say no more, since I was able to chose the option of retirement.