Health IT doc to head the AMA

By Erin McCann
10:51 AM
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'Documenting a full clinical encounter in an EHR is pure torment'
The American Medical Association on Monday named its new president-elect, who has been recognized for his involvement with health information technology. The to-be president has been critical of several aspects of the EHR Incentive Program.  
 
Steven J. Stack, MD, an emergency physician currently practicing in Lexington, Ky., will assume the role of AMA president starting June 2015 after serving a one-year term as president-elect. At 43, he is poised to be the youngest AMA president in the past century, according to officials. 
 
"It is a deep honor and privilege to be named president-elect of an organization that is committed to serving as a strong physician voice and a dedicated patient advocate on the pressing healthcare issues confronting our nation," said Stack, in a June 9 press release. "With vision and perseverance, I look forward to creating a brighter future for patients and the medical profession."
 
Stack has served as chair of the AMA's Health Information Technology Advisory Group from 2007 to 2013. He also held roles on several federal advisory groups for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, including the Information Exchange, PCAST Report and Strategic Plan workgroups. Stack also served as secretary of the eHealth Initiative. 
 
He has been critical of aspects of the Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, which he has described as creating a "Catch-22" for physicians, mandating they implement EHRs, while under the threat of a monetary fine. 
 
"Documenting a full clinical encounter in an EHR is pure torment," said Stack last May during the CMS Listening Session: Billing and Coding with Electronic Health Records, where he called on CMS and ONC to make Stage 2 requirements more flexible for physicians who are already struggling with myriad mandates and deadlines. 
 
 
Stack, who clarified that he thinks ONC and CMS are honestly attempting to improve healthcare, added: "My purpose is not to denigrate EHRs."
 
Back in 2006, Stack was elected to the AMA board of trustees, making him the first board-certified emergency doc to serve in the role of AMA board member, officials note. During the past eight years, Stack has held several leadership positions, including AMA board chair and AMA secretary. Prior to his service on the AMA board, he held a record as an elected leader within numerous state, national and specialty medical associations.
 
Stack's previous roles also include medical director of the emergency departments at St. Joseph East in Lexington, Ky., and St. Joseph Mt. Sterling in eastern Kentucky. He also served as medical director of the emergency department at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
 
Born and raised in Cleveland, Stack graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He then returned to Ohio and completed his medical school education and emergency medicine training at the Ohio State University before relocating to Memphis to begin his clinical practice. In 2006, he and his family moved to Lexington.