Archive for October, 2012

Meaningful Use Workgroup Close to Wrapping Up Thoughts for Stage 3 MU RFC

October 25, 2012 Leave a comment

On October 25, the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) HIT Policy Committee Meaningful Use (MU) Workgroup continued their efforts to finalize preliminary draft recommendations and questions to be included in the upcoming “Stage 3 MU” request for comments (RFC).  The RFC will likely be published in the Federal Register sometime in November 2012 for a (potential) 45-day public comment period.

In response to input from ONC staff, the workgroup decided the future RFC should include a question about the ability for patients to view and download diagnostic images and related data, without actually making a recommendation about the topic.  Some members of the workgroup expressed concerns about automated transmission of imaging information directly to patients if sensitive data were included (for example, findings indicative of cancer) and requested that referring physician discretion play the deciding role in those cases.  Other members were concerned about file size and wanted input on sharing diagnostic quality images with patients versus alternative file types.

Regardless of how (or even if) these questions are asked in the RFC, the important thing to understand is that next month’s RFC will be a very early opportunity for stakeholder feedback to the HIT Policy Committee.  Moreover, the RFC’s content will not necessarily be indicative of CMS or ONC’s own thoughts and intentions for the future Stage 3-related rulemakings.

Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

CMS Publishes Minor Corrections to Stage 2 MU Final Rule; October 2012 ACR Advocacy Update Now Available

October 24, 2012 Leave a comment

On October 23, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published various corrections to the agency’s September 4 final rule to update the requirements of the Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.  The October revisions are grammatical/administrative in nature and are unlikely to have an impact on eligible professionals.

In other news, the American College of Radiology’s (ACR) Government Relations and Economics Departments published the October 2012 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’s Advocacy website.

Senate HELP and Finance Committee Republicans Request Meeting with HHS on Meaningful Use

October 18, 2012 1 comment

On October 17, Republican leaders from the U.S Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Finance Committees sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting a meeting between Finance, HELP, and HHS staff to discuss the impact of the Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program (“meaningful use”).

While similar in tone to the recent House GOP letter, the Senate letter did not cite specific criticisms of the EHR Incentive Program regulations.  Instead, it focused on broad questions about HIT and the program’s impact on interoperability, billing behaviors, and diagnostic test ordering.

Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare

ACR’s 2012 Imaging Informatics Summit

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

On October 11, the American College of Radiology’s (ACR) IT and Informatics Committee hosted the second annual “Imaging Informatics Summit” in Washington, DC. Radiologists, HIT thought leaders, industry, and federal government representatives participated in the event.

Dr. Jacob Reider (Acting CMO, Office of the National Coordinator for HIT) delivered the keynote presentation on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ general approach to the Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program and the certification of EHR technology used in that program, as well as the role of imaging and radiologists. Dr. Keith Dreyer (Chair, ACR ITIC) discussed the program’s regulatory requirements and changes made in the September 2012 final rules. Dr. Alberto Goldszal (Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/UMDNJ) explored his practical meaningful use experiences in 2011 and 2012. I provided summit attendees with a very brief update about some of ACR’s interests and activities related to the program.

In addition to the EHR Incentive Program, this year’s summit featured a variety of pertinent HIT policy topics, including mHealth and mobile medical devices/applications, ACR Appropriateness Criteria-guided clinical decision support, and HIT-enabled radiation dose monitoring.

House Republican Leaders Send Letter to HHS Criticizing Meaningful Use

October 4, 2012 2 comments

Earlier today, several House Republican leaders sent a letter to the Secretary of HHS urging a “change in the course of direction” for the Medicare/Medicaid EHR Incentive Program (meaningful use).  Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of Ways and Means; Rep. Wally Herger, chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health; Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of Energy and Commerce; and Joe Pitts, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, co-signed the letter.

Republicans argued the bar for meaningful use was set too low by regulators and that interoperability problems continue to be prevalent despite the federal government’s investment in HIT.  The letter urged HHS to suspend meaningful use incentive payments and delay the future penalties until universal interoperability standards are promulgated.  The letter also called for significantly increased requirements for physicians and providers,  and elimination of business practices that bar electronic health information exchange.

Interestingly, the letter compared CMS’ proposed rule from late 2009-early 2010 to the September 2012 final rule without acknowledging the July 2010 final rule that resulted from that original rulemaking process.

Categories: EHR, meaningful use, Medicare
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