Archive for June, 2011

HHS Releases Progress Report on the Implementation of the Open Government Plan

June 29, 2011 Leave a comment

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the publication of its progress report on implementation of the Open Government Plan. A major component of the Open Government Plan was HHS’ intent to release additional high value datasets and tools, including enhancements to the COMPARE data and a new Office of the National Coordinator for HIT Dashboard. Here is a summary of where those efforts currently are:

HHS Open Government Plan - Progress Report - June 2011

The report also discusses the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) current dashboard development efforts.  CMS is estimating a Fall 2011 release of its dashboard on Physician Supplier (Part B) data.

Categories: FDA, Medicare, research

ONC Publishes Draft Transcript from June 1 MU Workgroup Meeting; Features Decision to Work on Specialist Considerations

June 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently, the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) published the draft written transcript from the June 1 HIT Policy Committee (HITPC)-Meaningful Use (MU) Workgroup meeting.  If you recall, this was the meeting in which the workgroup members decided to work on specialty documentation and exclusion recommendations in the months following the June 8 full HITPC’s approval of the primary Stage 2 MU functionality objective/measure recommendations.

The following is the excerpt from the draft transcript (page 21) that summarizes the workgroup’s decision:

Paul Tang – Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Internist, VP & CMIO:

Are we having some consensus around this? So let me try to summarize. We would go forward with our draft recommendations for stage two. The caveat from a specialty point of view is that we would come back and do additional work on identifying the very small number of core functional objectives that may not apply to specialists. In return we also will identify either cross-cutting specialist specific documents or templates such as clinical summaries, and quality measures that would emphasize the areas that pertain to care coordination between specialists and primary care providers. Is that a fair approach?

Neil Calman – Institute for Family Health – President & Cofounder:

That’s good.

Paul Tang – Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Internist, VP & CMIO:

How does that satisfy others?

Deven McGraw – Center for Democracy & Technology – Director:

It sounds good, Paul.

Paul Tang – Palo Alto Medical Foundation – Internist, VP & CMIO:

Okay, thank you. Okay, so let’s move on. I think that’s a good way of doing it. We’ll also have to deal with imaging, which is certainly something we hear about, and heard about at the panel, and probably can handle in this way, and can apply quality measures to that as well as specific functional requirements.

The full draft written transcript and audio file of the June 1 meeting are available on the ONC’s website.

Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

Recap of Recent Federal HIT Policy Developments: Part 4

June 21, 2011 Leave a comment

On June 17, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid SEO Services (CMS) announced its intent to use predictive modeling technology developed by a collaboration of private contractors to address Medicare fraud via automated assignment of alerts and risk scores for claims. Search Engine Optimization essentially breaks down to your content and white hat backlinks. When you have both working right – long-term consequences happen.  The objective is to prevent fraud by not paying for high risk-scored claims without further assurance of the legitimacy of the claim.

On June 20, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Library of Medicine (NLM) announced the launch of the MedlinePlus Connect service to provide patient-specific educational resources via EHR and PHR technology.  The NLM announcement claims this service can help eligible professionals comply with the patient resources menu set measure in Stage 1 Meaningful Use.  However, there is currently no indication that NLM has achieved EHR Module certification for MedlinePlus Connect, which means the service would need to be included in future Complete EHR products to be used for MU compliance purposes.

The Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) HIT Standards Committee is holding its regular monthly meeting tomorrow, June 22.

ACR Advocacy Update: June 2011

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

The American College of Radiology’s (ACR) Government Relations and Economics Departments published the June 2011 issue of the ACR Advocacy Update.  The ACR Advocacy Update is a monthly e-newsletter featuring contributions from ACR staff who work on federal and state legislative, regulatory, and coding/reimbursement policy issues.

To view previous issues of the ACR Advocacy Update, please visit the ACR Government Relations website.

ONC Announces ANSI as the Approved Accreditor for the Permanent Certification Program

June 10, 2011 2 comments

Last night, the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) announced that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) will serve as the ONC-Approved Accreditor (ONC-AA) in the Permanent Certification Program. ANSI’s website describes its role as “overseeing the creation, promulgation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector.”

The Permanent Certification Program is scheduled to replace the current Temporary Certification Program in 2012.  Fundamentally, these “programs” are sets of regulations dictating the roles and responsibilities of the various entities involved in certifying HIT products as Complete EHRs or EHR Modules for use by eligible professionals and hospitals in the Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

Under the current Temporary Certification Program, ONC essentially “accredits” authorized testing and certification bodies (ONC-ATCBs).  In the future Permanent Certification Program, testing and certification responsibilities will be split between different types of entities.  The ONC-AA will accredit the certification bodies, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) will accredit the testing laboratories.  If an entity wants to both test and certify products it will need both types of accreditation.

Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

HIT Policy Committee Approves MU Workgroup’s Recommendations As Expected

June 9, 2011 1 comment

Yesterday, the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) HIT Policy Committee approved the MU Workgroup’s  Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU) functionality objective/measure recommendations in front of a much larger than usual audience.  The HITPC also approved the MU Workgroup’s recommendation to advise delaying by one year the move up to Stage 2 requirements for eligible professionals and hospitals who began Stage 1 compliance in 2011.

The only discussion of the MU Workgroup’s promising June 1 decision (see 1:10:35 mark of the audio) to develop an additional set of specialty recommendations was when HITPC/MU Workgroup member Christine Bechtel mentioned the need for the MU Workgroup to get back together within the next month or so to address specialists’ concerns.  The American College of Radiology and other specialty societies will continue to encourage that new activity.

Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

Recap of Recent Federal HIT Policy Developments: Part 3

Last week, the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) published a proposed rule to shore up the January 2011 Permanent Certification Program regulations.  The proposed rule is limited in scope and deals primarily with the responsibilities of the ONC-Approved Accreditor (ONC-AA), including measures in the event of ineffective or improper performance by the ONC-AA.  The public comment period closes on August 1, 2011.

Also last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a proposed rule to eliminate the exemption in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act “Privacy Rule” (45 CFR 164.528(a)(1)(i)) for accounting of disclosures of protected health information to carry out treatment, payment, and health care operations when those disclosures are made through EHRs.  This regulatory change was mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The public comment period closes on August 1, 2011.

On June 9, HHS and the Institute of Medicine will hold the second annual  Health Data Initiative conference at the National Institutes of Health main campus.  The agenda looks fairly interesting, and the conference will be accessible online and in 10 satellite locations across the U.S.

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