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AAMC Comments on EHR Certification Criteria under Joining Forces Banner

April 18, 2014—As part of AAMC’s commitment to Joining Forces, AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., sent an April 18 letter  to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) urging the inclusion of military service criteria in certified electronic health records (EHRs). The letter responds to a request for comment on 2017 EHR Certification Criteria in a Feb. 26 notice of proposed rulemaking. Comments are due to ONC no later than 5 p.m. on April 28.

AAMC’s comments focus on the “unasked question” of military service connections.  Dr. Kirch states, “The stress of war, multiple deployments, and frequent moves create unique wellness challenges for military families. Military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan may carry with them visible and much more subtle wounds.  While military families exhibit great resilience, children, spouses, and parents can experience anxiety; changes in relationships with family and friends; isolation; or emotional challenges in dealing with relocation, deployments, illness, or injury of their loved ones.  Asking about a person’s connections to the military is important for all patients.”

The letter notes AAMC’s endorsement of the question, “Have you or a loved one served in the military?” To that end, the AAMC letter supports the addition of “Family Connection to Military Service” to the proposed military status EHR criteria. Furthermore, AAMC highlights existing resources produced by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help guide clinicians taking military health histories.

Joining Forces is a national initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to improve the health of military service members and their families. Under that banner, AAMC has advocated for improving military cultural competency in patient care, including a November 2013 Joining Forces Wellness Week and Webinar on taking military health histories.


Matthew Shick, JD
Director, Gov't Relations & Regulatory Affairs
Telephone: 202-862-6116

Evan Collins, MHA
Specialist, Clinical Operations and Policy
Telephone: 202-828-0552


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806