Update on EHR-Meaningful Use Advocacy Efforts

The Massachusetts Medical Society is undertaking special efforts to change a new state requirement that in order to renew their medical license, physicians must be proficient in the use of electronic health records at the level of the federal government's Meaningful Use standards. This requirement is scheduled to take effect for license renewals starting in Jan. 2015.

According to the Massachusetts eHealth Institute, only 15,000 of the 27,000 physicians who live in Massachusetts and hold a Massachusetts license would be able to meet that standard. Most of the remaining physicians are, under law, ineligible for Meaningful Use incentives and could lose their license if this requirement remains in effect. Without a doubt, the loss of more than 10,000 physicians would have a devastating impact on the health care system.

The MMS has been pursuing two parallel paths to address the issue:

Legislative: The MMS has asked the Legislature to disconnect state licensure from the use of electronic health records or meaningful use certification. At least one version of such language is currently under consideration by the Legislature

Regulatory: At the same time, the MMS has asked the Board of Registration in Medicine to interpret the law in such a way that would allow physicians to apply for license renewal even if they are ineligible for Meaningful Use. The board is currently working on regulations and may release a draft soon.

Watch for updates on this issue on the MMS website, the MMS blog, and the regular Friday editions of Vital Signs This Week.

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