The Smart Medical Practice

A Growing Number of Physicians Opt out of Meaningful Use


MU AttentastionA small but growing group of physicians is saying “no” to meaningful use (MU) attestation. This number includes six percent of the physicians who have met the requirements in prior years and an additional 16 percent who do not plan to attest, according to a Medscape report. They are looking for other solutions, counting on the ability to make up for the reimbursement penalties they might receive by finding a system that works more efficiently.

The physicians who report that they are either abandoning or will never be attesting to MU in the first place aren’t outlaws or technophobes. Instead, they fear that patient care may suffer when providers spend so much time meeting MU requirements as they grow ever more stringent.

Montana-based physician James Legan, MD, who was interviewed in Medical Practice Insider, gave the most common reason why physicians are moving away from this system — the time spent fulfilling the MU requirements detracts from actual patient care.

Trailblazing to New Solutions

Consensus among the doctors who feel encumbered by MU attestation seems to be that the problem is not technology, just this particular mandate. Physicians are turning to more streamlined forms of cloud-based practice management and billing software to meet their needs. The goal is to save enough money through efficient reporting to offset the penalties for not attesting to MU.

Patient portals and a Chromebook workaround are some of the alternatives to achieve EHR projection and presentation. Software systems specifically tailored to the physician working in a small office, such as PracticeSuite, provide a comprehensive solution by letting physicians automate their entire practice while giving them access to state-of-the-art technology and the flexibility to implement changes to the system as the need arises.

It’s Not For Everyone . . . Yet

Counting on being able to make more money through efficient practices than one will have to pay out in penalties is a risky strategy and not for everyone. For now, it is most ideally suited for a small office where the physicians have the freedom to follow their own rules.

However, even some large groups are feeling the time and money crunch MU attestation causes. Chief information officer of the 22-hosptial Intermountain Healthcare network, Marc Probst, explains in a recent Healthcare IT News article that they “will not be attesting to meaningful use Stage 2 in 2014” and “most of [his] peers are not as well” due to more pressing priorities such as ICD-10 and HIPAA.

Although the most recent attestation rates of Stage 2 have increased slightly over June, 2014’s low figure, analysts predict that the number of eligible physicians and hospitals that refuse to attest to MU will decline next year when even more stringent requirements go into effect. Is this the wave of the future or will attestation processes become more streamlined to allow doctors and practices enough time for patient care?

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