The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' expectation that physicians transition to electronic health records continues to rise with EHRs increasingly integrated into CMS' 2014 physician payment rule. Of note was CMS' controversial suggestion in the rule that the standards for future chronic care management should include required use of an EHR that meets Meaningful Use.
The American Telemedicine Association, HIMSS and several other organizations recently sent a letter to the Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC) urging that incentives in Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program include the "full panoply" of patient health data, including patient-generated health data (PGHD) from remote monitoring systems.
The certification process for Meaningful Use is in need of a "radical" overhaul, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka says in his most recent blog post.
There appears to be a big disconnect between desire and reality when it comes to Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use Incentive Program. On one hand, you've got the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, which earnestly wants to forge on with Stage 2 on time in January 2014. Stage 2, as you may recall, has already been delayed once. On the other hand, you've got the reality that a lot of electronic health record products are not yet certified for the 2014 edition software that supports Stage 2 of the program.
The security and integrity of electronic health records will be one of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General's highest priorities in 2014 and beyond, according to the OIG's latest strategic plan.
Sen. Rob Portman's proposed "Behavioral Health Information Technology Coordination Act," introduced last week, would expand the Meaningful Use incentive program and adoption assistance to psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse clinics and other behavioral health providers. With so much publicity these days on health insurance coverage for the mentally ill, and the all-too-common news reports about the mentally ill not receiving needed treatment, you'd think that senator's bill would garner at least some attention. However, it's received very little press.
Changes to Stage 2 of Meaningful Use are unlikely, according to Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's Office of Policy Planning. Daniel was responding to a question from an attendee at a town hall-style session at the American Medical Informatics Association Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. on Monday.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has introduced legislation to encourage behavioral health providers such as psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse facilities and psychologists to adopt electronic health records by extending the Meaningful Use incentive program to them.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has launched a new webpage explaining how electronic health record developers can become "CMS designated test EHRs."
Participation in the Meaningful Use incentive program continues to increase, with more than 425,000 active registrations of eligible professionals and eligible hospitals. Overall, 325,000 unique providers have been paid incentives representing more than $16.5 billion in payouts.