Keep your medical records updated or else face a gradual pay reduction from Medicare and Medicaid starting December 19. This is what the Obama administration made known today. More than 250M doctors and health care practitioners will be affected by this.
Both Medicare and Medicaid are under the auspices of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or CMS. Delivering health-related services the American patients require is the ultimate purpose of the program.
A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued this announcement: “CMS is working with physicians and other health care providers to improve health care quality through the use of electronic health records. Since 2011, more than 400,000 eligible professionals have received incentives under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. Beginning today, however, CMS will be notifying the minority of eligible professionals who have not successfully participated in the program that they will be subject to payment adjustments in 2015 as required by law.”
This law is not something out of the blue. It was approved in 2009 under the heading of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. This was one of the components of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act which earmarked $20 billion. The purpose of the law is to encourage health care practitioners to use electronic systems as the standard for keeping medical records by giving them bonuses for it.
It is for this reason health care professionals are being penalized. Those who fail to follow the “Meaningful Use” standards of EMR (Electronic Medical Records) will get a one percent deduction in their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements in 2015. Those who are affected by this include hospitals and practitioners alike.
The results affect a lot medical associations which make them very sad with the deductions affecting mostly smaller practitioners.
The American Medical Association’s president, Dr. Steven Stack, described the implemented standards for EMR usage as a “strict set of one-size-fits-all requirements” and that it is “failing physicians and their patients”. He added: “The overlapping and often conflicting patchwork of laws and regulations must be fixed and aligned to ensure physicians are able to move to innovative payment and delivery models that could improve the quality of care.”
Hospitals and doctors who make efforts to follow the law will receive additional funding. Consequently, the result will be a decrease in the total of federal 2015 disbursements which will match those of 2012 levels.