AAFP: 'Transform' MU Stage 3, don't tweak it

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is calling for a pause of the Meaningful Use program, saying the Health and Human Services Department should "transform" Stage 3 of the program, not just tweak it.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, AAFP chairman Robert Wergin, M.D., said his organization had "significant" concerns that the rule implementing Stage 3 does not allow for continued success of the triple aim of using health IT to improve health, provide better care and lower costs.

Instead, the rule "places further obstacles" in physicians' paths. The letter also says that providers won't be ready for the value-based environment envisioned by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which moves physicians into the Merit Based Incentive Payment System, and that the poorly designed Meaningful Use program was a barrier to the MIPS quality performance that MACRA requires.

AAFP also noted that there's been a 27 percent decrease in EHR satisfaction and a decrease in the number of physicians participating in the Meaningful Use program, including those who had been early adopters of EHR. Moreover, the functionalities for value-based payment have been put on the back burner as vendors devote their resources to meeting the Meaningful Use requirements.

AAFP recommends that HHS "pause" the Meaningful Use program to focus on interoperability, MACRA and value-based payments, and refocus and streamline the program accordingly.

Many stakeholders at this point have clamored for a pause in the Meaningful Use program so that it can be reassessed. 

Most recently, the GOP Doctors Caucus has weighed in, asking House speaker Paul Ryan to take legislative steps to delay the program since HHS wasn't doing so administratively.

To learn more:
- here's the letter