The government is setting the bar too high under early proposals for Stage 3 electronic health records meaningful use criteria, and the requirements simply aren’t fair to physicians who seek to comply and fall just short, the American Medical Association contends.

In comments on proposed criteria from the HIT Policy Committee, the AMA argues that meaningful use measures should be reasonable and achievable yet still have a meaningful impact. That’s not the case with early iterations of Stage 3, the association contends. It notes that Stage 3 could nearly double the number of measures to comply with meaningful use, and 100 percent compliance is needed to pass.

More flexibility and fairness are needed, the AMA says. “Failing to meet just one measure by one percent would make a physician ineligible for incentives and face the same financial penalties during the penalty phase as those physicians who make no effort to adopt EHRs,” the association states in its comment letter.

AHA recommends eliminating the regulatory requirement to meet all measures to successfully achieve meaningful use, and having physicians only have to meet 10 of the core/menu set of measures during the years that penalties are in effect in order to avoid a penalty. Other recommendations include:

* A one-size-fits-all mindset for most measures needs changing so that program requirements are appropriate and flexible for physicians of different specialties,

* An independent evaluation of the meaningful use progress is necessary to improve and inform the future of the program,

* Physician usability of certified EHRs should be addressed during the EHR certification process, and

* Health information technology infrastructure barriers that do not enable physicians to readily share patient data securely should be resolved.

The AMA comment letter on early Stage 3 proposals is available here.

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