Purpose. Chart notes are used to support billing codes under the evaluation and management guidelines of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), in addition to serving as a record of the visit. To better understand the effect of the HCFA documentation guidelines, the authors collected data on how the guidelines affect participation by university- and community-based faculty in clinical education programs. Method. In 2000 the authors sent six copies of their questionnaire to the associate deans of the 125 U.S. medical schools and requested they distribute them to all core clerkship directors. The questionnaire consisted of multiple-choice and short-answer questions regarding documentation of medical visits, participation of community based faculty, understanding of HCFA documentation guidelines, and effects on education programs. Results. The response rate was about 50%. Most of the 379 clerkship directors who responded (77%) stated they were aware the HCFA documentation guidelines include specifications regarding the role medical students can play and documentation of medical visits, and 64% indicated they were concerned the guidelines would affect their educational programs. Concerns included the loss of student independence and active participation in the patient care environment (37), time constraints and the changing balance between education and service (16), loss of faculty and decreased morale (11), and decreased quality of care for patients (7). Conclusion. Leaders of medical education must work to modify these guidelines to protect the quality of patients' care, while maximizing students' educational opportunity and participation.
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