Arguing that the bar for "meaningful use" of electronic health records (EHRs) is too low under regulations promulgated by HHS, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger (R-CA) and Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA) this week sent a letter to Secretary Sebelius asking that she "immediately suspend" electronic health record incentive payments to providers and delay penalties for not participating in the meaningful use program. The letter went on to request that expectations for recipients of federal funds should be increased, and that overall the EHR incentive program should focus on making health care delivery more efficient and affordable, instead of focusing on participation rates.

However, the interoperability concerns expressed by the lawmakers were somewhat muted by a study from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), and Doctors Helping Doctors Transform Health Care recently noted that the interoperability standards for Stage 2 meaningful use are being implemented on a "very aggressive schedule," which may address the most important types of data sharing identified by physicians.