The federal government's push for the rapid adoption of electronic health records is engendering considerable pushback.
The fiercest clash is over proposed meaningful use rules for electronic records that must be met by health care providers serving Medicare and Medicaid patients, Politico reported this week.
Compliance will make providers eligible to share in $19 billion appropriated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as an incentive to digitize medical records. Failure to abide by the guidelines will result in lower reimbursements.
A proposed meaningful use eligibility rule published in January by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service has drawn protests from more than 50 professional associations, chief among them the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, Politico reported.
The groups are spending millions of dollars to lobby elected officials and sway opinion through media messaging. The thrust of those efforts is to relax the meaning of meaningful use by giving providers more time to comply with fewer requirements.
The campaign seems to be working.
In March, "249 members of the House sent a letter to CMS, calling the new regulation 'too much, too soon for the vast majority of America's hospitals,'" according to the Politico report. "Twenty-seven senators sent a similar letter."