AMA warning on e-health records
THE Federal Government has been handed a fresh warning against any move to tie doctors’ participation in the personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) system to MBS rebates.
A proposal to restrict MBS rebates to only those services carried out by doctors signed up to the Government’s PCEHR system had been recommended by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC).
But in its submission to ongoing consultation on the PCEHR blueprint – set to close this week – the AMA warned against any such move.
“The AMA is strongly opposed to any measure that would directly or indirectly, through the withholding of payments, compel medical practitioners to participate in the PCEHR,” the AMA submission stated.
But former NHHRC chair Dr Christine Bennett was unapologetic for asking “providers seeking public funding [to] be part of the PCEHR process”, and said the commission recommendation from 2009 had a time frame that would allow GPs to understand the value of the record and sign up to the model.
The Health Department had not responded to MO queries on the likelihood of linking rebates to PCEHR participation at the time of press.
AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton said with the PCEHR due to launch in July next year, the association was still seeking assurances over patient safety concerns and potential medico-legal risks faced by GPs accessing or relying on the records.
The financial and administrative burden on doctors who use and update the system was also an issue, he said.
Dr Sara Bird, manager of medico-legal and advisory services at MDA National, also held concerns over a potential increase in liability risks to doctors using the PCEHR. She hoped these would be the focus of further discussion between the Government and doctors.
Calls for incentives and payments to help cover the costs of integrating the PCEHR into practices were recently backed by senior National E-Health Transition Authority clinical leads.