Federal EHR/EMR Incentives for PAs? Making the Argument for Meaningful Use””
More and more dermatology practices are adopting EMR and EHR technologies, and terms like “meaningful use” are part of the new lexicon. The government is providing financial compensation to most healthcare professionals who adopt EHR technology. However, there is one group of healthcare professionals who have been left out in the cold: Physician Assistants.
For the most part, Physician Assistants are not eligible to participate in the Meaningful Use incentive program. There are exceptions, of course, if they work at a federally qualified health center or rural health clinic that is also led by that physician assistant.
Sadly, this still leaves out many PAs who, while they may use and implement EHR systems, are not able to receive compensation for their help in achieving meaningful use standards.
Therefore, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is currently leading a charge to allow PAs to participate in the Meaningful Use incentive program. The AAPA argues that in many cases, since physician assistants are the ones actually utilizing EHRs, they should also be able to reap the rewards.
Dermatology PAs consistently view EHR notes, enter orders, and write up treatment summaries. All of these activities are basic elements of meaningful use.
Tricia Marriott, a physician assistant and director of Reimbursement Advocacy for the AAPA says, ”[PAs] clinical knowledge and knowledge of the physician and practice styles are invaluable for creating templates. They are seeing patients and intimately involved in practice workflow. Their insights can be a huge asset to the EHR adoption team, and must be included as part of the implementation process on the road to meaningful use.”
Additionally, AAPA argues that PAs should be eligible for incentives if thirty percent of their patients are on Medicaid—the same standard that is used for physicians.
[image by Ludovic Bertron]