Monday, December 20, 2010

The AMA stands in the way of nationwide implementation of HIT!?

Washington, D.C. – The American Medical Association (AMA) urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to revise the Medicare e-prescribing penalty policy in a letter sent to HHS Secretary Sebelius.

AMA asserts that this policy, which would penalize physicians in 2012 if they don’t e-prescribe in the first six months of 2011, "will hurt efforts to implement widespread health IT adoption among physician practices and cause them to take on needless financial and administrative burdens".

Such assertion could not be further from the truth, as implementation of e-prescribing will foster widespread use of HIT, and specifically electronic medical records (EMR). Implementation of e-prescribing will reduce incidence of medication errors, reduce complications of multi-pharmacy and will significantly reduce fraud and abuse of prescription medications.

The facts are in direct contradiction to statements by AMA Board Secretary Steven J. Stack, M.D. regarding the issue, as not aligning these programs will ultimately delay physicians’ efforts to adopt a complete EMR.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ( CMS) has said that physicians cannot receive incentives from both the Medicare e-prescribing incentive program and the Medicare EHR incentive program simultaneously. However, if physicians choose not to participate in the 2011 e-prescribing program, they will face penalties in 2012 and 2013

Once again, the once  relevant organization  ends up with an egg on its face.  I guess the Board of AMA as utilized the same due diligence philosophy used in its ill-fated commercial endorsement of Sunbeam products without testing what it was putting its stamp of approval on.

Dr. Stack, for one, makes me proud of having the foresight to quit AMA in 1981!

For more information on AMA's cockeyed decision process, please contact:

Lisa Lecas
AMA Media Relations