Another Doctor Rebels: “The Patient Should be the Arbiter of the Physician’s Quality of Care”

Mark Sklar, MD, in the Wall Street Journal:

The push to use electronic medical records has had more than financial costs.

Yet to avoid future financial penalties from Medicare, I must demonstrate “meaningful use” of the electronic record. This involves documenting that I covered a checklist of items during the office visit, so I spend 90 minutes each day entering mostly meaningless data. This is time better spent calling patients to answer questions or keeping updated with the medical literature.

My practice quickly adopted the new Medicare requirements for electronically prescribing medications. Yet patients often do not want their prescription sent electronically.

If I don’t electronically prescribe for a certain number of Medicare patients, I am penalized with a decrease in reimbursement that can rise to a maximum of 5%. Patients should have a choice in how their prescriptions are delivered, and physicians shouldn’t be penalized for how the patients choose.

Comments (3)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    A while back a doctor asked me where I wanted my prescription electronically sent. I realized that I didn’t know because it’s difficult to shop for the best prices when I have to tell a doctor a specific location ahead of time. Electronic prescribing could theoretically lock people into one pharmacy. I ended up using the Walgreens near my house. But, I later found the same drug for less than half price by mail-order.

    • John R. Graham says:

      I had a prescription sent electronically. But I had not thought of the issue you describe.

      It was my first prescription in many, many years, and probably the last for many years.

      I was more interested in observing whether the e-prescribing actually worked than what the price was!

  2. Erik says:

    Transparency is always a good thing. I take maintenance prescriptions and it is not difficult to find or switch to an appropriate pharmacy.

    I think this doctor complains too much; or is hiding something from Medicare.