Family Physicians Welcome Changes to Meaningful Use Requirements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

Statement attributable to:
Robert Wergin, MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“Family physicians welcome news from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that it intends to modify requirements for meaningful use, including shortening the electronic health record reporting period to 90 days.

“The American Academy of Family Physicians joined with other health care organizations to urge CMS to reduce program complexity and ease the undue administrative burden placed on physician practices by cumbersome reporting requirements. Family physicians are among the earliest adopters of certified electronic health record technology and remain committed to the promise of delivering better health care with interoperable electronic health records. As health providers across the United States build out the EHR infrastructure over the coming years, family medicine will continue to play a central role, and CMS's announcement demonstrates that it is listening to our concerns. We’re gratified to see that our collective voice has been heard and needed change is coming.

“We continue to support the long-term goals of the meaningful use program and share the Department of Health and Human Services’ commitment to elevating patient-centered care and improving health outcomes, but greater flexibility is needed to support the providers and make participation less daunting. The goal of the meaningful use program should be to ensure that all physicians, hospitals and health care providers implement and use electronic medical records to improve patient care and lower costs -- not to penalize those who try, but fall short.

“We encourage HHS to act quickly and release a final rule, including a 90-day reporting period, so that achieving meaningful use is realistic and more accessible for family physicians and other health care providers alike.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Wergin, contact Megan Moriarty, (800) 274-2237, Ext. 5223, or mmoriarty@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit
www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).