AMA meeting: Delegates seek tax credit to help pay for EMRs

Also, the AMA will develop contracting guidelines for doctors who accept health IT donations from hospitals.

The AMA House of Delegates said physicians should get a full, refundable tax credit to help them buy and use health information technology such as electronic medical record and prescribing systems.

While private and government payers have asked doctors to implement quality initiatives that are highly dependent on EMRs, they do little to help cover those costs. Physicians’ reimbursement — often tied to pay-for-performance programs — should not be contingent on their ability to pay for EMRs, the house said at its Interim Meeting here last month.

Of the nearly 5,000 physicians who responded to an AMA survey about Interim Meeting resolutions, 79% backed the idea of a tax credit to defray EMR costs.

Delegates also directed the AMA to develop contracting guidelines to help physicians stay within federal rules adopted last year that govern doctors’ accepting health IT from hospitals.

“The high cost of health information technology is still a major roadblock to universal adoption, and accepting or donating an electronic health record system can be an option for many physicians,” said AMA Trustee J. James Rohack, MD. “This guidance should help physicians determine their needs and develop a mutually beneficial contract agreement.”

As part of the new policy, the AMA will encourage hospitals to make their systems interoperable and easy to use.

The house also reaffirmed the AMA’s support for legislation promoting technology-neutral health IT, as well as regulations requiring standardized security measures such as data encryption.
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