Rad group lawsuit: Meaningful Use 'unconstitutional'

A radiology group has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that a portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act under which medical professionals, beginning in 2015, could face penalties for noncompliance with Meaningful Use rules for the implementation of electronic health records--is "irrational" and should be declared unconstitutional.

Diagnostic Imaging Group and Drs. Ernest McKenzie and John Hamlin are suing the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Novitas Solutions Inc. in Oklahoma Western District Court.

According to an article by Courthouse News Service, the plaintiffs specifically are targeting the part of the law that requires radiologists to provide patient histories and physical data. They argue that the law "makes no differentiation in its Meaningful Use rules and regulations between hospital-based radiologists who only interpret inpatient and outpatient imaging studies without doing histories and physicals on patients, and hospital-based radiologists who are interventionalists who interact with patients similar to surgeons and cardiologists where histories and physicals are necessary prior to intervention."

They go on to argue that since they won't be compensated for performing such histories and physical exams necessary to obtain the required data, the effect "is involuntary servitude" and a violation of the 13th Amendment, as well as a violation of the 5th Amendment's prohibition against the seizure of private property without just compensation.

The plaintiff's are asking the court to either declare the law unconstitutional or order the defendants in the case to provide compensation for the work necessary to obtain the Meaningful Use data.

To learn more:
- see the lawsuit (subscription required)
- read the article by Courthouse News Service