Doctors to get Medicare pay cut if they don't 'meaningfully' use electronic medical records

The bullying of the nation’s physicians continues apace, now turning to penalizing doctors who don’t meet the administration’s one-size-fits-all approach to medical records. Bruce Japsen of Forbes reports:

More than 250,000 physicians and other health professionals are being notified as early as today that their payments from Medicare and Medicaid will be cut because they aren’t adequately using electronic health records in their practices, the Obama administration confirmed.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, known as CMS, is telling about 257,000 eligible medical care providers who are largely physicians that they will be paid 1 percent less in reimbursement next year from both the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly and the Medicaid insurance program for the poor because they failed to comply with so-called “Meaningful Use” of electronic health records standards in 2013.

This is another reason for doctors to shun Medicare. The electronic medical records requirements have been a disaster for many physicians in small and solo practices, particularly. Instead of saving time and money, they impose new burdens. One physician in solo practice I know has had to add a half-time staff member to cope with the extra work. And the need to stare at a computer and fill in boxes and blanks while talking to patients disrupts the close communication between doctor and patient necessary for sound diagnosis. Instead of looking intently at the patient, the physician must look at the computer while proceeding down a checklist.

Large medical practices can have IT specialists to cope with the inevitable problems that come with computerization.  Burt small and solo practices are stuck with muddling through, and now, if they fail to meet the standards, will be penalized. Do we really want all our physicians to become employees of large organizations? Do bureaucrats provide better care than the one-on-one relationship that used to characterize American medicine?

Most physicians now express the view that they don’t want their children to follow them into the profession, a very profound change from a generation or two ago. Many are retiring early, and it doesn’t take a genius to see that we will be facing both a doctor shortage and a less qualified cohort of entrants to medical schools. This is an excellent way to degrade the quality of medical care Americans receive.

The bullying of the nation’s physicians continues apace, now turning to penalizing doctors who don’t meet the administration’s one-size-fits-all approach to medical records. Bruce Japsen of Forbes reports:

More than 250,000 physicians and other health professionals are being notified as early as today that their payments from Medicare and Medicaid will be cut because they aren’t adequately using electronic health records in their practices, the Obama administration confirmed.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, known as CMS, is telling about 257,000 eligible medical care providers who are largely physicians that they will be paid 1 percent less in reimbursement next year from both the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly and the Medicaid insurance program for the poor because they failed to comply with so-called “Meaningful Use” of electronic health records standards in 2013.

This is another reason for doctors to shun Medicare. The electronic medical records requirements have been a disaster for many physicians in small and solo practices, particularly. Instead of saving time and money, they impose new burdens. One physician in solo practice I know has had to add a half-time staff member to cope with the extra work. And the need to stare at a computer and fill in boxes and blanks while talking to patients disrupts the close communication between doctor and patient necessary for sound diagnosis. Instead of looking intently at the patient, the physician must look at the computer while proceeding down a checklist.

Large medical practices can have IT specialists to cope with the inevitable problems that come with computerization.  Burt small and solo practices are stuck with muddling through, and now, if they fail to meet the standards, will be penalized. Do we really want all our physicians to become employees of large organizations? Do bureaucrats provide better care than the one-on-one relationship that used to characterize American medicine?

Most physicians now express the view that they don’t want their children to follow them into the profession, a very profound change from a generation or two ago. Many are retiring early, and it doesn’t take a genius to see that we will be facing both a doctor shortage and a less qualified cohort of entrants to medical schools. This is an excellent way to degrade the quality of medical care Americans receive.