Latest Commentary

The tobacco use objective: Meaningful, or just blowing smoke?

Meaningful Use is supposed be, well, meaningful. But sometimes what's good in theory doesn't translate very well in practice.

Providers deserve a better, more transparent appeals process

I'm sure I'm not the only person who's distressed to learn that the appeals process for the Meaningful Use program lacks clarity and appears arbitrary. So what's going on here? It's not that easy to find out.

CMS, ONC need to get beyond Groundhog Day

I hate to say it, but isn't it about time that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT realized that they are trapped in a "Groundhog Day" time warp? In the 1993 movie of the same name, Bill Murray is condemned to repeat Feb. 2 until he finally realizes why he's stuck and then changes his ways--and his attitude--in order to move on. Except that we know that the movie had a happy ending. The direction of the Meaningful Use program is not so clear.

Could AMA's increased pitch to feds on Meaningful Use backfire?

I think it's fair to say that for the American Medical Association (AMA), the gloves officially are off.

How long must providers wait for better EHRs?

David Blumenthal, former National Coordinator for Health IT and current president of the Commonwealth Fund, published a very insightful and thought provoking blog post last week about the fact that electronic health records are now the industry's "understandable but not wholly justifiable" scapegoat for many of the problems in healthcare. Among other things, he pointed to the human tendency to want to cast blame rather than take responsibility for mistakes, the fact that EHRs are "imperfect" systems, and that they're at the forefront of clinicians' minds, literally "in their faces" all day long. 

But there is one item in his article with which I don't agree.

 

Pollyanna ONC highlights interoperability mistakes made in the past

I presume that I'm not the only person who finds the occasional disconnect between the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's blog posts and the real data behind them amusing.

Texas Health's retraction about EHR flaw may set a dangerous precedent

Is anyone else as concerned as I am about Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas' actions these past few days?

And I'm not just talking about the clearly troublesome misdiagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan, who was sent home from the hospital emergency department despite having the Ebola virus. He's now fighting for his life.

No, I'm referring to the hospital's waffling of the mistake.

Meaningful Use perfection requirement a very high bar

I can't help but feel sorry for Drew Memorial Hospital, which failed a Medicare Meaningful Use audit and is being asked by CMS to return its incentive payment for that year in the amount of $904,000.

The 'faux' MU flexibility rule: A ghost no matter what

Not two weeks ago, I questioned whether the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's continued rigidity in its stop gap "flexible" Meaningful Use rule for 2014 would come back to haunt the agencies. Turns out I was right. Stakeholders are rebelling--and in a number of different ways.

The Medicaid EHR incentive audit program: No longer a sleeping giant

Sometimes there's so much attention paid to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Medicare Meaningful Use program that we tend to overlook the Medicaid side. But we shouldn't. The Medicaid incentive program--and more specifically, its audit potential--just catapulted into new territory.