April 23, 2013
ASA Supports Maintenance of Anesthesiologists' Hardship Exemption and Seeks Improvements to the EHR Incentive Program
On April 22, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) submitted formal comments to the Office of National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology regarding a request for information on interoperability and health information exchange. ASA urged ONC and CMS to continue the hardship exemption for anesthesiologists - a change ASA successfully advocated for in the past. Additionally, ASA urged that ONC and CMS provide additional exemptions to specific meaningful use criteria, including providing clinical summaries to patients, providing patients with an electronic copy of their health and implementing drug to drug and drug to allergy interaction checks. ASA wrote "Additional modifications to the meaningful use criteria are needed to ensure that anesthesiologists can reasonably achieve meaningful use and share meaningful data." ASA continued that "the ability to share meaningful data and improve interoperability relies on criteria that are relevant to anesthesiologists."
As part of the comment period, ASA also cosigned a letter with a broad coalition of physician specialties that echoes anesthesiologists concerns with the meaningful use criteria. The letter states, "Many EHR products do not work in a way that meets their patient’s needs nor are the EHR Meaningful Use measures collecting information that reflects the data important for providing specialty care. One example can be found in the field of anesthesiology, where anesthesiologists are faced with meaningful use criteria that is inapplicable to their practice. Additional modifications to the meaningful use criteria are needed to ensure that anesthesiologists and other specialists can reasonably achieve meaningful use and share meaningful data."
Review ASA's response.
Review the coalition letter.
Review the ONC Request for Information.