Do EHR Mandates Exist?

It depends. What is your definition of a mandate? You do not have to use an electronic health record (EHR) in your practice, but if you don't, Medicare penalties will be incurred beginning in 2015.

Currently, Medicare is the only payer planning to penalize physicians who are not "meaningfully using" their EHR system. That's right, meaningful use is required to prevent the penalty. The penalties begin at 1 percent in 2015 and will cap at 3 percent in 2017. If at least 75 percent of office-based physicians are not meaningfully using an EHR by 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary has the authority to ratchet the penalty by two more percentage points, capping the penalty at 5 percent in 2019. TMA created a one-page explanation that charts the penalties for both scenarios and provides information on penalty exemptions.

To prevent the penalty, you must start your meaningful use reporting period by July 1, 2014. The federally established regional extension centers (RECs) are ready to help you with EHR selection, adoption, and meaningful use. For more information, visit the Texas Regional Extension Center Resource Center on the TMA website.  

Questions related to EHRs and other office technologies may be directed to TMA's Health Information Technology Department by calling (800) 880-5720 or by email

 Action, July 15, 2013