HIMSS EHRA wants Meaningful Use 'maintained'

Industry stakeholders continue to weigh in with their opinions about whether the Meaningful Use program should be "rebooted," with the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) in strong disagreement with GOP senators that the program needs to be overhauled.

In its recent comment letter, EHRA took issue with the senators' depiction of the program and health IT having created privacy, interoperability and cost issues. It noted that EHRs haven't led to improper coding or ordering of unnecessary care, but actually have decreased costs through clinical decision support and other capabilities. EHRA also argued that there actually have been "significant advances toward broad interoperability," adding that the program has not put patient privacy at risk.

The association recommended that Meaningful Use incentive payments not be suspended or delayed, as some lawmakers have recommended.

Conversely, the Health Record Banking Alliance called the current health information infrastructure misguided, inefficient, expensive and prone to error. It recommended in its own letter that the program be replaced with a patient-centric and patient-controlled infrastructure that would allow patients to give permission to providers to access some or all of their records.

The American Hospital Association and other consumer groups have acknowledged that while the program needs work, it shouldn't be jettisoned.

To learn more:
- here's EHRA's comment letter (.pdf)
- read the Alliance's comment letter (.pdf)