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Texas Medical Association Calls for MU Changes

November 3, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Texas Medical Association (TMA) has sent a letter to state senators asking them for help in making changes to the meaningful use program.

TMA president Tom Garcia, M.D., sent the letter to Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on behalf of the 48,000-plus physician and medical student members of the association. The letter reads, “To Texas physicians, it appears the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other federal agencies never seem to tire in their campaigns to heap more useless requirements onto physicians’ practices. The most recent example involves the latest set of regulations governing the meaningful use program. Despite the well-reasoned concerns expressed by TMA and organized medicine, CMS insists on moving ahead with Stage 3 of the meaningful use requirements.”

On Oct. 6, CMS released the final rule for Stage 3. Most health IT leaders responded to the rule with cautious optimism, and many further believed that the required start date of 2018 for Stage 3 is too soon.  

According to Garcia in the letter, “The convoluted and tedious electronic health records requirements are certainly not meaningful to doctors nor our patients. Neither the electronic health records nor the meaningful use regulations were designed with the realities of medical practice in mind. Together, they leave us clicking more but achieving less.”

The letter goes on to call the program “meaningful abuse.” It continues, “Until EHR systems truly add value to medical care and can seamlessly interact with other systems, we want Congress to reform the program and eliminate federal mandates that compel physicians to engage in unnecessary activities and reporting.”

The letter concludes by asking the Texas senators to cosponsor and support two bills that aim to modify the meaningful use program: S 2141, the Transparent Ratings on Usability and Security to Transform Information Technology (TRUST IT) Act of 2015 by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.); and HR 3309, the Flex-IT 2 Act, by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.). 

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