Corrects unfair meaningful use provisions for physicians who perform procedures in ambulatory surgery centers
June 17, 2015, Washington, D.C. – The Digestive Health Physicians Association (DHPA) today applauds passage of the Electronic Health Fairness Act in the House of Representatives, which was approved as part of a broader Medicare package (H.R. 2570) by voice vote.
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. A companion bill, S. 1347, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).
“We applaud the leadership of Representatives Diane Black (R-TN), David Scott (D-GA) and the House of Representatives for supporting gastroenterologists who treat patients at ASCs. These physicians perform services in the ASC setting as a lower-cost option for Medicare beneficiaries and should not be punished when certified electronic health records are unavailable at these sites,” said Dr. Scott R. Ketover, president of DHPA. “We hope the Senate will follow suit in supporting independent gastroenterology practices by removing unfair provisions imposed by meaningful use requirements that hinder 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 67 independent gastroenterology (GI) physician practices across the country with the aim of promoting and preserving accessible, high quality and cost-efficient care in the independent GI medical practice setting. The DHPA’s member practices include more than 1,600 gastroenterologists and other physician specialists who provide care for over two million people in approximately four million distinct patient encounters annually. DHPA member practices employ more than 8,000 employees in their medical groups.