Flex-IT 2 Act Provides Relief to Physicians, Hospitals and Healthcare Providers Facing Tough Health IT Mandates

In this months post, we take a look at a recent post on www.house.gov on July 30, 2015 that introduces legislation that would delay CMS promulgation of the Stage 3 MU Final Rule and mandate a 90-day EHR reporting period every year, among other updates.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) introduced H.R. 3309 – the Further Flexibility in HIT Reporting and Advancing Interoperability Act or Flex-IT 2 Act on July 30, 2015.

According to the post, there continues to be a need for healthcare providers to have flexibility in meeting CMS’ rigid deadlines: only 19 percent of providers and 48 percent of hospitals have met Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use. To address mounting concerns among healthcare providers, Rep. Ellmers has introduced the Flex-IT 2 Act to address concerns with CMS’ proposed rules for Meaningful Use Stage 3 rules for the Medicare and Medicaid EHRs Incentive Programs.

This robust legislation encompasses 5 measures:

(1) Delay Stage 3 Rulemaking until at least 2017, or MIPS final rules or at least 75 percent of doctors and hospitals are successful in meeting Stage 2 requirements.
(2) Harmonize reporting requirements (MU, PQRS, IQR) to remove duplicative measurement and streamline requirements from CMS.
(3) Institutes a 90-day reporting period for each year, regardless of stage or program experience
(4) Encourages interoperability among EHR systems
(5) Expands hardship exemptions, as they are very narrowly defined under current regulations

View H.R. 3309 – the Further Flexibility in HIT Reporting and Advancing Interoperability Act (Flex-IT 2 Act): click here.

Ready to learn more, buy a book today! 

Go to http://www.theMUguide.com to learn more. Buy a book from the official e-store (http://buy.theMUguide.com) or Amazon.com (http://amazon.theMUguide.com).

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The last mile of meaningful use — value

In this months post, we take a look at an article written by, Bob Cooke, Vice President, Marketing, National Decision Support Company.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT took a leap forward with their recent releases of the Stage 3 Proposed Rule and HIT certification criteria, respectively. At the highest level, a key requirement derived from these proposed program updates is that providers will need to comply with a revised set of requirements in order to receive future value-based reimbursements.

The Stage 3 Proposed Rule focuses on the exchange of data across episodes of care as opposed to whether or not providers “see patients,” “have office visits,” or fall under others terms that don’t really apply to radiologists. It’s not that radiologists don’t conduct “office visits,” or “see patients,” it’s just that to apply these definitions against a radiologist’s compliance with Meaningful Use, and more importantly, extracting value from participation by imaging is practically impossible. Collecting this data is not enough for radiology.

Take smoking status for example, a fairly simple piece of data. For most of the radiologists in the country, this simple piece of data is not available as part of the interpretation process. Collecting it when you see a patient is one thing, but for a radiologist to see it when they interpret an exam for the patient, it can mean everything, as Brigham and Women’s Hospital found out when a jury awarded a patient $16.7 million for a missed cancer diagnosis on a simple CXR for a patient. It turns out the radiologist did not have access to the patients history, which included a family history of lung cancer and a 30 year habit. The exchange of this kind of data is critical to healthcare providers and consumers alike.

Exchanging data across episodes of care (e.g. a radiology encounter) has tremendous benefits to radiology as it enables practices to capture relevant clinical information and apply it towards value-based workflows using widely available, and established, implementation standards. Furthermore, this same exchange mechanism transports coded radiology results, updated medications (for interventional exams) and vitals as appropriate, as the Stage 3 Proposed Rule formally defines the radiology report as part of the Clinical Document Architecture (CDA).

Another key component of Meaningful Use is Clinical Decision Support (CDS). And, the Stage 3 Proposed Rule encompasses the implementation of CDS for recording clinical quality measures and to align incentives with the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS). Furthermore, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) requires physicians to consult CDS in order to receive payments for Medicare claims.

All in all, radiology has an opportunity to leverage these proposed program updates to deeply embed themselves into the patient care cycle and measure and improve their value in delivering more cost effective and higher quality patient care.

Ready to learn more, buy a book today! 

Go to http://www.theMUguide.com to learn more. Buy a book from the official e-store (http://buy.theMUguide.com) or Amazon.com (http://amazon.theMUguide.com).

White House Reviewing CMS and ONC Proposed Rules to Update the EHR Incentive Program and HIT Certification Requirements

In this month’s post, we take a look at a recent post on the Radiology and Health IT Blog.

An article posted on Radiology and HIT Blog discusses important updates to the EHR Incentive Program and certification requirements.

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) submitted proposed rules to update the EHR Incentive Program participation and technology certification requirements for White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review. OIRA review is one of the final steps in the federal rulemaking process prior to submission to the Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) Office of the Federal Register (OFR). Public stakeholders will be able to access the text of these two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) for the first time when they are placed on the OFR’s Public Inspection Desk. So, while we know that public release of the NPRMs is imminent (OIRA review could last up to 90 days – usually closer to a month or two), the only information we have about the content at the moment is included in the rough descriptions on OIRA’s website.

The description for CMS’ NRPM, “Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs–Stage 3” (RIN: 0938-AS26), indicates that it will propose changes to “the reporting period, timelines, and structure of the program, including providing a single definition of meaningful use.” It goes on to say that “These changes will provide a flexible, yet, clearer framework to ensure future sustainability of the EHR program and reduce confusion stemming from multiple stage requirements.” Hopefully, this means physician participants will be rewarded with a new, much-needed infusion of flexibility this rulemaking cycle.

Read entire article on Radiology and HIT Blog

Ready to learn more, buy a book today! 

Go to http://www.theMUguide.com to learn more. Buy a book from the official e-store (http://buy.theMUguide.com) or Amazon.com (http://amazon.theMUguide.com).