Federal and State Government News Update


Edition Eighty-Five (3/20/12)

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Aligns HIEs, Public Health
Fierce Health IT, 3/15/12

The proposed Meaningful Use Stage 2 rules have spurred partnerships between public health agencies and HIEs, which will act as intermediaries for electronic reporting of public health data.

Small Practices No Longer Lagging in EHR Adoption
Fierce EMR, 3/15/12

Solo practitioners and small physician practices finally are jumping onto the EHR bandwagon, for the first time adopting EHR systems at a greater rate than larger medical groups.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Appeals Process Expanded--But Not by Much
Fierce EMR, 3/15/12

The proposed rule outlining Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use incentive program expands the appeals process for eligible hospitals and providers—but not as much as they may have hoped.

Inside Meaningful Use 2 NPRMs: A Difficult Balance
Government Health IT, 3/12/12

The notices of proposed rulemaking attempt to strike a difficult balance between sustaining forward momentum toward Meaningful goals and ensuring providers who face greater impediments to EHR adoption have the time, support, and incentive to catch up.

What Universal Device Identifiers Could Do For EHRs
InformationWeek, 3/12/12

The FDA and ONC have discussed including a universal device identifier in Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program to boost patient safety.

Doctors, Patients Can Spur HIE Progress, Feds Say
InformationWeek, 3/12/12
National HIT Coordinator Mostashari is calling on clinicians and patients to demand more data at point of care to help drive development of HIEs

White House Names Park as Federal CTO
Modern Healthcare, subscription required, 3/9/12

President Barack Obama is appointing HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park as the new federal chief technology officer.

CMS Officially Publishes MU2; Comment Countdown Begins

Government Health IT, 3/8/12

The CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health I.T. officially published in the Federal Register the two proposed rules for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, kicking off a 60-day public comment period.

An Unsung Victory in Healthcare

The Great Debate, 3/6/12

In an opinion piece, former White House adviser Ezekiel Emanuel credits the HITECH Act with significantly boosting EHR adoption. However, he notes that there is concern about whether escalation of the incentive program will occur.

12 Integration Capabilities EHRs Will Need to Have

Healthcare IT News, 3/6/12

With Stage 2 waiting in the wings, the focus is now shifting onto the electronic capture of health information and fostering data exchange at points of care transitions.

Mostashari to Brailer: 'Tremendous Movement' Ahead for Health I.T.

Fierce Health IT, 3/6/12
In an interview, National Coordinator for Health I.T. Farzad Mostashari predicted 40 percent of primary care providers will have a basic EHR by the end of this year, and that half will have one within two years. 

HIT: How Fast is it Spreading, and is the Nation Reaping the Benefits?

Healthcare Technology Online, 3/6/12
Nearly 2,000 U.S. hospitals and more than 41,000 doctors have now met the standards for achieving Meaningful Use, and have received $3.1 billion in federal incentive payments as a result. 

Legal Risks of Going Paperless

American Medical News, 3/5/12

EHRs are meant to save time and money, but they also can create liability issues for doctors.

First Look at the Next Stage of Meaningful Use

American Medical News, 3/5/12

Earning bonuses and avoiding payment cuts during Stage 2 of the multibillion-dollar federal EHR incentive program would require using technology which meets tougher quality objectives and helps coordinate patient care.

CMIO, 3/1/12

HIMSS, the Medical Group Management Association and the American College of Medical Practice Executives have partnered to produce the Ambulatory HIE Toolkit, an online resource for healthcare organizations considering and participating in HIE.

Mostashari: EHRs Will Help Most Patients by 2013
InformationWeek, 2/28/12

Farzad Mostashari predicts by 2013 more than 50 percent of care will being conducted using EHRs.

Meaningful Use Update: Submit Once, Get Double Credit
InformationWeek, 2/27/12

Physicians and other individual eligible providers would not need to meet different clinical quality measures to participate in both the Meaningful Use program and the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System, under newly proposed rules for Meaningful Use Stage 2.

ACOs, Population Health Management Share a Common Thread
HealthLeaders, 2/27/12

There may be no 'I' in team, but there is one in self-interest, and 59 percent of healthcare leaders feel it's keeping the industry from solving its problems.

CMS Wants Your Vote on Clinical Quality Measures
Government Health IT, 2/27/12

The CMS wants to get feedback on a list of 125 potential clinical quality measures for physicians and 49 potential measures for hospitals as part of its proposed rule for Meaningful Use Stage 2. Ultimately, CMS will decide on just a subset of the suggested measures.

Companion Stage 2 Meaningful Use Rule is Released
Health Data Management, 2/27/12

ONC released a proposed rule to set standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program.

Groups Weigh In on Meaningful Use Stage 2
Healthcare IT News, 2/24/12

Though most stakeholders are still drowning in the 455-page Meaningful Use Stage 2 proposed rule, a few groups have stepped forward to weigh in.

CMS Releases Meaningful Use Proposed Rule

Government Health IT, 2/23/12

The CMS has laid out the details for how it will raise the bar for healthcare providers to qualify for incentives with the release of its proposed rule for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use.

Mostashari: 'Breathtaking Progress' on EHR Front

Government Health IT, 2/23/12

The results of the health I.T. incentive program aimed at driving the adoption of EHRs by hospitals and physicians have been "breathtaking," Farzad Mostashari asserted in his keynote address at HIMSS12.

CMS Stage 2 Rule: No Provider Mandate, But Higher Emphasis on Encryption

Health Data Management, 2/23/12

CMS’ proposed rule for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use does not mandate use of encryption, but it does emphasize increased consideration of encryption of data at rest in ambulatory and inpatient EHR systems.

Senator Warner Calls for Tougher Standards for EHRs

The Hill, 2/22/12

Congress’s gambit to create a national system of EHRs is “at risk of failure or mediocrity” if federal regulators continue to water down the standards doctors and hospitals must meet, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) wrote in a letter to federal health officials.

CHIME Urges HHS to Make Quick Decision on ICD-10

Healthcare IT News, 2/21/12

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives has called on HHS to “quickly and decisively” set a compliance date for ICD-10.

CMS Has Paid $3.12B to Date for EHR Incentive Program

Healthcare Finance News, 2/20/12

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said 2,000 hospitals and 41,000 physicians have received $3.12 billion in incentive payments for Meaningful Use.

EHR Use in U.S. Hospitals Has Doubled in Last Two Years

Medical News Today, 2/20/12

The percentage of U.S. hospitals using HIT such as EHRs has more than doubled in the last two years, according to an announcement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

N.H. Receives First Community-Based Care Funds
Modern Healthcare, subscription required, 3/2/12

The CMS awarded $26.5 million over three years to New Hampshire, which is the first state to receive new Medicaid grant money designed to keep patients at home and out of nursing homes and other healthcare institutions.

CMS Delays 5010 Enforcement to June 30
Health Data Management, 3/15/12

The CMS has extended the non-enforcement period for the HIPAA 5010 transaction sets another 90 days through June 30, 2012.

Quality Missing from ACO Equation?
Fierce Healthcare, 3/13/12

Although most often applied to the Medicare Shared Savings Program or the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization, the term ACO has far-reaching applications, including those outside of the federal programs. 

AHRQ Plans Registry of Patient Registries
Government Health IT, 2/22/12

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality wants to develop a searchable Registry of Patient Registries, which are databases that track the experience of individuals with diseases and conditions, to encourage collaboration and information sharing.

ONC Plans to Make Exchange a Not-for-Profit
Health Data Management, 2/22/12

The ONC has mapped out a plan to make the federally supported Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange a not-for-profit organization.

HRSA, Labor Department Sign Health I.T. Training Agreement
Modern Healthcare, subscription required, 2/21/12

Health Resources and Services Administration Administrator Mary Wakefield announced an agreement between HRSA and the U.S. Department of Labor to train students at community and technical colleges for health I.T. jobs at hospitals and clinics in rural areas.