In a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, four Republican senators expressed concerns over several issues related to the adoption of EHRs through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office for the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC)’s meaningful use program. This comes only a few weeks after House Republicans penned a letter to Sebelius asking for a suspension to the Meaningful Use program until
This letter was not as critical as the House Republicans letter, and focused more on getting answers to various questions on Stage 2 of meaningful use. The senators, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Pat Roberts (R-Ks.), and John Thume (R-S.D.) asked the relevant staff from CMS and ONC to meet with Senate Finance and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committees, noting a recent briefing by the government agencies did not give “enough time and opportunity” to cover the final rule.
Some of the questions they asked in the letter came out of various recent media reports. This included asking if EHRs increase or reduce diagnostic tests, inappropriate EHR payments to providers, increased billing of Medicare due to EHRs, and meaningful interoperability. The senators say because Stage 2 of meaningful use directly affects the direction of health information technology in the country, they need a better understanding of these issues to conduct a proper oversight.
The senators asked to meet no later than Oct. 26, 2012.