Corrects unfair meaningful use provisions for physicians who perform procedures in ambulatory surgery centers
August 6, 2015, Washington, D.C. – The Digestive Health Physicians Association (DHPA) today applauds passage of S. 1347, the Electronic Health Fairness Act by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate. Similar legislation was passed in June by the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a broader Medicare package (H.R. 2570).
The Electronic Health Fairness Act exempts procedures performed at ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) from counting toward meaningful use requirements of electronic health records (EHRs). Gastroenterologists and other physician specialists who care for patients in independent medical practices routinely perform procedures at ASCs, yet the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided no mechanism for ASCs to become EHR certified. Without the exemption created by the Electronic Health Fairness Act, physicians who care for patients at ASCs would be penalized for providing procedures like colonoscopies at this more cost-efficient site of care. According to a report issued by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the average Medicare payment rate in 2014 for most services provided in ASCs was 55 percent of what would have been paid to hospital outpatient departments.
“We applaud the leadership of Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and U.S. Senate for supporting gastroenterologists who treat patients at ASCs, and we hope that this legislation will soon be sent to President Obama,” said Dr. Scott R. Ketover, president of DHPA. “The services performed by physicians in ASC settings provide a lower-cost option for Medicare beneficiaries and removing these unfair provisions imposed by meaningful use requirements will improve our ability to provide patients with quality, coordinated care.”
About the Digestive Health Physicians Association
The Digestive Health Physicians Association (DHPA) is a trade association comprised of more than 50 independent gastroenterology (GI) physician practices across the country that seeks to promote and protect high quality, cost-efficient and integrated GI care furnished in independent medical practices. The DHPA’s member practices include more than 1,300 gastroenterologists and other physician specialists who, in 2014, cared for more than two million patients in approximately 3.5 million distinct patient encounters. DHPA member practices employ approximately 10,000 employees in their practices.