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Physician groups asks CMS to re-evaluate deadlines for programs and penalties

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March 29, 2012 - WASHINGTON – The American Medical Association (AMA) and state and national medical specialty societies sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing serious concern about an onslaught of overlapping regulations that affect physicians. Programs with overlapping timelines include the value-based modifier, penalties under the electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) program, physician quality reporting system (PQRS) and electronic health record (EHR) incentive program, along with the transition to ICD-10.

“Facing all of these deadlines at once is overwhelming to physicians, whose top priority is patients,” said AMA President-elect Jeremy Lazarus, M.D. “We have asked CMS to develop solutions for implementing these regulations in a way that reduces the burden on physicians and allows them to keep their focus where it should be – caring for patients.”

Without needed changes from CMS, physicians will be transitioning to the ICD-10 coding system, spending significant time and resources implementing EHRs into their practices, working to successfully participate in the Medicare e-prescribing program, meeting EHR meaningful use standards, and participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) – all within a short amount of time.

“In addition to these upcoming deadlines, physicians who treat Medicare patients are also currently facing a drastic cut of about 30 percent on January 1 from the broken Medicare physician payment formula,” Dr. Lazarus said. “The combination of these financial burdens could prevent physicians from making the investments needed to transition to new models of care delivery and improve the value and quality of care in the Medicare system.”


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