AAFP Applauds Legislation that Grants Reprieve on Meaningful Use Penalties

Monday, December 21, 2015

Statement attributable to:
Wanda Filer, MD, MB
President, American Academy of Family Physicians

“The American Academy of Family Physicians welcomes passage of the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act. This legislation grants the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services the authority to issue categorical hardship exemptions for practices that cannot successfully attest to meaningful use in 2015, due to delays in CMS rulemaking. Its enactment prevents a 3 percent payment reduction for these practices in 2017.

“This heralds a reprieve to physician practices that are unable to successfully attest to meaningful use for 2015, through no fault of their own.

“EHRs that communicate with all of a patient’s physicians and providers can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of health care. The AAFP is committed to helping make that happen. Although this legislation will not resolve more global troubles with the meaningful use program, it does allow CMS to more easily hold physicians harmless for the problematic timing of the Stage 2 Modifications Rule.

“Without this legislative solution, CMS would not have authority to issue hardship waivers for 2015 except on a case-by-case basis. This legislative solution will more easily allow CMS to make physicians whole. It prevents penalties from being assessed against physicians who cannot meet impossible requirements within an inadequate time frame.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Filer, contact Leslie Champlin,
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,000 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 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).