ACMSS Applauds House Passage of VA Medical Scribe Pilot Act; Urges Scribe Certification
ORANGE, Calif., August 24, 2017. The American College of Medical Scribe Specialists (ACMSS) applauds the passage last Friday of a bipartisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to create a pilot study in Veteran’s Administration hospitals to determine whether using Medical Scribes to assist physicians will help shorten the VA’s notoriously long wait times and ease other patient service problems. ACMSS only asks that the Senate modify the language in the bill to ensure the VA employs only Certified Medical Scribe Specialists.
The purpose of The Veterans Affairs Medical Scribe Pilot Act of 2017 (HR 1848), introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), is to create a two-year medical scribe pilot program under which VA will increase the use of medical scribes at ten VA medical centers, employing 30 scribes in all. It is hoped that the use of medical scribes in the program will reduce the amount of time physicians spend on daily documentation so that they may increase the number of patients physicians can see and the amount of time physicians are spending with each patient. Every 180 days during the two-year program the VA will be required to report to Congress the programs effect’s on provider satisfaction, provider productivity, patient satisfaction, average wait time and the number of patients seen per day.
After the bill’s passage, Roe, who is Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and a physician, released a statement on the purpose of the legislation. “Since the VA waitlist scandal broke three years ago, I’ve examined several ways to improve patient care for veterans, and one that came up repeatedly in discussions was cutting down on the time physicians spend entering data,” Roe said. “Many private-sector physicians report the use of medical scribes has a positive and meaningful impact on their ability to see patients. Scribes can help input patient data and allow physicians to focus on patient care and use their time more efficiently. That’s why I introduced legislation to start a pilot program to examine whether or not the use of medical scribes would have similar positive effects in the VA.”
ACMSS agrees with all of the elements contained in the Act, but is sending a letter to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, asking for one change before the bill goes to the Senate for a vote. “If this legislation is approved in the Senate and the program goes forward, employing Medical Scribes to assist physicians at the VA will undoubtedly improve efficiencies and have the positive effect the bill proponents desire, and more,” said ACMSS Executive Director Kristin Hagen. “However, in approving the language, ACMSS urges the Senate to insist that only Certified Medical Scribe Specialists be used in the program. Medical scribes provide real-time documentation and increase practice efficiencies in a great number of areas outside of clinical documentation, but they must be certified.”
ACMSS is an independent certifying organization and works in compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to meet national goals and initiatives of Meaningful Use of Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT), and Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and its Merit-Based Payment Incentive System (MIPS). Certified Medical Scribe Specialists also meet the “qualified people” standard in CEHRT and assist with the design and infrastructure to support ongoing transformative care and change.
The ACMSS certification program meets current and proposed CMS certification requirements toward use of EHRs through its Medical Scribe Certification & Aptitude Test (MSCAT). In addition to the overall certification exam, ACMSS provides specialty certifications in vascular medicine, dermatology, oncology, primary care, internal medicine, emergency medicine and general patient care, enabling access to all across the specialties.
“Employing Certified Medical Scribe Specialists is the best way that care providers get can ensure they get back the time and attention they need to join the evolution of the outpatient healthcare industry into a patient-centered system that focuses on integrative medicine, prevention, disease reversal and wellness,” Hagen said.
Please contact ACMSS directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our website at theacmss.org, or phone 800-987-3692 if you have any questions regarding the ACMSS program and/or materials.
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