Voluntary MACRA would free docs from EMR data entry

Doc and computer
If MACRA were voluntary, doctors would be freed from computers and electronic health records.

While some say MACRA enjoys bipartisan support and is here to stay, two authors are hoping a new administration will introduce changes so doctors are no longer tied to their computers and electronic medical records.

At least participation in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), which puts in place Medicare reimbursement programs for physicians, should be voluntary, write co-authors Sally C. Pipes, president and CEO at the Pacific Research Institute, and Michael Koriwchak, M.D., an Atlanta doctor who is vice president of the Docs 4 Patient Care Foundation, in an opinion piece in Forbes.

“Dropping the penalties and preserving the incentives will allow MACRA devotees to continue their work while unshackling other doctors from unproven quality measures and EMR mandates. Every physician, MACRA supporter or not, will be free to pursue his or her own vision of health information technology—the one that is best for patients,” they write.

Meaningful Use (MU) got the ball rolling when it came to adoption of EMRs. Lauded by federal agencies for revolutionizing healthcare, the technology has meant doctors pay more attention to computers than patients, they say.

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Now Meaningful Use has a new name and it’s become part of MACRA, which will pit small medical practices against large healthcare institutions based on its compliance scoring system. MACRA will mean fewer independent practices and increased physician burnout as doctors spend more time on data entry, they said.