Blumenthal: Specialists may claim exceptions to certain MU measures

Remember the uproar from some specialty societies and makers of specialty EMRs over their perception that the CMS rules for "meaningful use" of health IT unfairly favored primary-care physicians? Now, no less a figure than national health IT coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal is offering some tips on how specialists can comply.

According to American Medical News, Blumenthal told last month's meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology that specialists can claim an "exception" to each rule that doesn't apply to their specialty and still get credit for meeting that specific objective. He was backed up by Dr. Derek Robinson, medical director for HHS Region V, covering Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

For example, three of the "core" measures of meaningful use that all providers must be able report on are blood pressure levels, whether patients over 13 use tobacco products and adult weight screening. "You may say that one of these or all three of these may not be part of your scope of practice," Robinson said, amednews reports. It is possible to report zero as both the denominator and numerator for the quality measure if that specific item is outside a physician's scope of practice.

Still, some specialists would like to see separate requirements for them as part of the Medicare and Medicaid EMR incentive program. "The final rules provided a more reasonable path for physicians to become meaningful users of EMRs, but the AAOS still believes separate meaningful use criteria need to be developed for surgical specialties," Dr. Thomas C. Barber, MD, a member of the EMR project team for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, tells amednews.

For additional details:
- take a look at this American Medical News story