News from CMS that the electronic health records' meaningful use program will be replaced with something better was later clarified by HHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Karen DeSalvo, M.D., and CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, who cautioned that physicians still will have to attest to MU criteria. Steven Waldren, M.D., director of the AAFP's Alliance for eHealth Innovation, said MU may be ending in name only as its requirements are rolled into the merit-based incentive payment system, and clinicians using the alternative payment model will have to comply with its requirements, which could be similar to those for MU.
Family physicians see the potential of electronic health records to improve patient care, but implementation can be expensive and burdensome, AAFP President Robert Wergin, M.D., told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said that although EHRs were aimed at improving care and coordination and reducing costs, "evidence suggests these goals haven't been reached."
AAFP Executive Vice President and CEO Doug Henley, M.D., ended the 2014 Assembly by announcing that next year the event will be called FMX for Family Medicine Experience. He said the 2015 meeting will include more CME options and interactive sessions for family physicians.
The AAFP 2015 Family Physician of the Year is Oscar Lovelace, M.D., of Prosperity, S.C., who emphasizes personalized patient care and lends his expertise to local hospices, medical education and political causes. He is a strong advocate of smoking-cessation programs and participates in the AAFP's Tar Wars tobacco-free education program.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was named the most influential person in health care by Modern Healthcare. AAFP President Jeffrey Cain, M.D., also made the "100 Most Influential People in Healthcare" list.