Senators Request Meeting With CMS, ONC Over Meaningful Use Program

In a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, four Senate Republicans expressed concern over issues related to the adoption of electronic health records through CMS and ONC's meaningful use program and asked to meet with relevant CMS and ONC employees, according to a Healthcare Informatics report.

This letter comes only weeks after House Republicans sent a letter to Ms. Sebelius, criticizing stage 2 meaningful use regulations. The letter called the stage 2 meaningful use rules "in some respects, weaker than the proposed stage 1 regulations released in 2009." The lawmakers argued that the weaker rules will result in a "less efficient system that squanders taxpayer dollars and does little, if anything, to improve outcomes for Medicare." They also criticized the lack of current interoperability among various electronic health record systems.

Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and John Thume (R-S.D.) were not as critical of the meaningful use program in their letter. Instead they requested that relevant staff from CMS and ONC meet with Senate Finance and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees. They also raise a few concerns in the letter, asking whether EHRs increase or reduce diagnostic tests, inappropriate EHR payments, Medicare billing and meaningful interoperability.

According to the report, the Senators believe that a better understanding of the issues is necessary to conduct proper oversight, especially since meaningful use directly affects the direction of health information technology in the United States.

More Articles on EHR Systems and Meaningful Use:

House Republicans Urge HHS to Suspend Meaningful Use Incentive Payments
Oregon Health & Science University to Develop Innovative EHR Simulations With $1M Grant
Meaningful Use is Up to You: 4 Key Points From Dr. Farzad Mostashari

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