At last week’s massive RSNA imaging conference, I attended a session on a topic that does not often come up in imaging circles. Several panelists discussed their efforts to either participate in – or in some cases – avoid the “meaningful use” EHR incentive program. The program, which my colleague Joe Goedert has covered in depth since its inception two years ago, primarily has targeted rewarding EHR adoption by primary and some specialty physicians and hospitals.

But the program includes options for radiologists, who unlike their primary care peers, rarely see patients face to face. A number of radiology groups have successfully attested, and panelists at larger practices spoke of incentives in the multi-millions of dollars. Others, however, are basically hoping the program goes away—or at least hoping exemptions to the program for radiologists, which would enable them to avoid the eventual penalties for non-compliance that many other physicians face, will stay intact.  If they don’t, practices not attesting to meaningful use face some hefty Medicare reimbursement cuts down the line, perhaps as high as five percent.

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