Bill excludes pathologists from standards

Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representative on March 21 would exclude pathologists from being required to meet the standards for meaningful use in order to qualify for EHR incentive payments and avoid reimbursement penalties under Medicare and Medicaid.

The Health Information Technology Reform Act (HR 1309), introduced by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Kind (R-Wis.), has been referred to the House Committee on Energy & Commerce and Committee on Ways and Means for consideration, according to HIMSS' Health IT Policy Update.

The bill would exclude pathologists from requirements and penalties based on the assumption that EHR meaningful use standards largely reflect physician office-based practices and are not applicable to the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine.

"Through their role in appropriate test selection and personalized medicine, and with access to the patient’s electronic health record, pathologists can play a key role in furthering Congress’ goals of reducing costs and improving health care quality," the bill states. "However, imposing payment penalties on pathologists for failing to meet electronic health record meaningful use standards that do not apply to their practice and typical interaction with patients, will not help advance quality care and accountability."

Price introduced a similar bill into the 112th Congress that garnered 60 cosponsors, but did not pass the House, according to HIMSS' Government Relations Office.