Alexander: Rushing Stage 3 Rule of Electronic Health Records Program a “Disservice to More than 500,000 Doctors, Thousands of Hospitals and Millions of Patients”

Says Congress will carefully review rule and has option of fixing it through legislation or overturning it through the Congressional Review Act

Posted on October 6, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 6 – The chairman of the Senate health committee today said that in rushing its rule for the third stage of the electronic health records program, the administration “is doing a disservice to more than 500,000 doctors, thousands of hospitals, and millions of patients.”

Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said: “Instead of taking the time to get the stage 3 rule right, they’ve rushed ahead when only 12 percent of doctors and less than 40 percent of hospitals can comply with the program’s stage 2.

“The administration has a tin ear. We asked: ‘Why spend a year modifying rushed up mistakes? Why not spend a year getting it right in the first place?’ They listened but they did not hear. They’ve missed a golden opportunity to develop bipartisan support in Congress and throughout the country for an electronic health records system that would genuinely help patients. Instead, they’ve rushed ahead with a rule against the advice of some of the nation’s leading medical institutions and physicians.

Alexander added: “Congress will carefully review this rule and has the option of fixing it through legislation or overturning it through the Congressional Review Act.”

Last week, Alexander and Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) sent a letter urging the administration to adopt immediately the stage 2 rule modifications, which they said would help doctors and hospitals to comply, but also urged waiting until no sooner than January 1, 2017, to make final the stage 3 rule and then phase in the stage 3 requirements at a rate that reflects how successfully the program is being implemented.

Also last week, 116 members of the House of Representatives—including 20 Democrats—sent the administration a letter urging a delay in making the stage 3 rule final.  

 

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