AMA, Deluded on Health IT, Begs For Doctor Penalty Extension - Not Penalty Termination

The American Medical Association (AMA) has become worse than useless:

AMA urges issuance of EMR penalties be delayed

Congressional Quarterly's CQ Weekly (3/14, Zeller) reports that "Congress strongly believes that electronic medical records will bring down the cost of healthcare, so much so that it has passed two laws providing incentives for doctors who upgrade their systems and levying penalties on those who don't."

But, the American Medical Association is urging that the penalties be delayed. Notably, the association "says a Government Accountability Office study released in February bolsters its point that the two laws create competing incentives that contradict each other." [Just our sub-15% approval rating Congress at work - ed.]

The article adds that the Department of Health and Human Services "announced that doctors will face penalties of 1 percent of their Medicare fees if they don't start issuing electronic prescriptions this year," which the AMA says would be a waste because physicians would buy e-prescribing software that they would discard when they install records systems in 2012.

[Lest they face other Medicare penalties for non-"meaningful use" of EMR's - ed.]

Aside from the Congressional mayhem created by conflicts between e-Prescribing and EMR coercion laws, if the AMA were not completely useless, and truly represented physicians (and patients), they'd be pushing not for a delay in penalties, but for their abolition.

This would help return HIT to a sensible voluntary path from the path of irrational exuberance it's now on.

-- SS