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CHIME Statement on Finalization of Meaningful Use ‘Modifications’ Rule

From Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO, President and CEO

This afternoon the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) finalized a regulation granting providers additional flexibility in meeting Meaningful Use (MU) requirements in 2014. However, the final rule lacked a key provision that would ensure continued EHR adoption and MU participation

CHIME is deeply disappointed in the decision made by CMS and ONC to require 365-days of EHR reporting in 2015. This single provision has severely muted the positive impacts of this final rule. Further, it has all but ensured that industry struggles will continue well beyond 2014.

Roughly 50% of EHs and CAHs were scheduled to meet Stage 2 requirements this year and nearly 85% of EHs and CAHs will be required to meet Stage 2 requirements in 2015. Most hospitals who take advantage of new pathways made possible through this final rule will not be in a position to meet Stage 2 requirements beginning October 1, 2014. This means that penalties avoided in 2014 will come in 2015, and millions of dollars will be lost due to misguided government timelines.

Nearly every stakeholder group echoed recommendations made by CHIME to give providers the option of reporting any three-month quarter EHR reporting period in 2015. This sensible recommendation, if taken, would have assuaged industry concerns over the pace and trajectory of rulemaking; it would have pushed providers to meet a higher bar, without pushing them off the cliff; and it would have ensured the long-term vitality of the program itself. Now, the very future of Meaningful Use is in question.

August 29, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

New CMS rule allows flexibility in certified EHR technology for 2014

Rule will help more providers use electronic health record technology

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule today that allows health care providers more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use for an EHR Incentive Program reporting period for 2014. By providing this flexibility, more providers will be able to participate and meet important meaningful use objectives like drug interaction and drug allergy checks, providing clinical summaries to patients, electronic prescribing, reporting on key public health data and reporting on quality measures.

“We listened to stakeholder feedback and provided CEHRT flexibility for 2014 to help ensure providers can continue to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs forward,” said Marilyn Tavenner, CMS administrator. “We were excited to see that there is overwhelming support for this change.”

Based on public comments and feedback from stakeholders, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) identified ways to help eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) implement and meaningfully use Certified EHR Technology. Specifically, eligible providers can use the 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for an EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs; All eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs are required to use the 2014 Edition CEHRT in 2015.

These updates to the EHR Incentive Programs support HHS’ commitment to implementing an effective health information technology infrastructure that elevates patient-centered care, improves health outcomes, and supports the providers that care for patients.

The rule also finalizes the extension of Stage 2 through 2016 for certain providers and announces the Stage 3 timeline, which will begin in 2017 for providers who first became meaningful EHR users in 2011 or 2012.

An updated meaningful use timeline and a chart with 2011 and 2014 CEHRT Edition options are available at http://cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2014-Press-releases-items/2014-08-29.html.

For more information about the EHR Incentive Programs, please visithttp://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms. For more information about CEHRT, please visit http://www.healthit.gov/certification.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

CHIME Supports New Pathways for Meaningful Use in 2014

Nation’s CIOs ask for swift finalization of proposed rule with ‘common sense’ amendments
ANN ARBOR, MI, June 30, 2014 - In comments submitted Friday, June 27 on proposed “Modifications to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs for 2014,” the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) offered general support of program changes, but requested additional revisions and clarifications to maintain momentum of the federal initiative.

Comments from the professional association of healthcare CIOs and IT leaders said additional flexibility is needed because changes proposed for the Meaningful Use incentive program were only first released in late May, limiting the amount of time providers have to react to changes.

“CHIME supports the new pathways as defined in the proposed rule,” the letter read. “We believe these options will provide needed flexibility for EHR optimization, encourage continued participation in the program and help maintain the upward trajectory of EHR adoption in the US.”

One of CHIME’s primary requests is that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services allow providers to choose any three-month quarter for an EHR reporting period in the next federal fiscal year or calendar year to qualify for Meaningful Use in 2015. As currently structured, the program requires providers to report a full year of data to qualify for incentives.

“We believe this change will have a dramatically positive effect on program participation and policy outcomes sought in 2015,” CHIME’s comments noted. “The additional time afforded by this modification would help hundreds of thousands of providers meet Stage 2 requirements in an effective and safe manner.”

“We are grateful for the agencies’ acknowledgement that 2014 has been an extremely challenging year for the industry,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO.  “The new pathways created by this NPRM will enable many hospitals and physicians to capitalize on progress made to date. However, the benefits of this new flexibility will be immediately lost if 2015 reporting requirements are not tempered.  Carrying forward the 2014 policy requiring providers submit data covering one quarter of their choosing in 2015 is common sense.”

Additional flexibility is needed because of the continued industry-wide strain to implement information technology in time to meet ongoing requirements of the program, CHIME contended. “Because there is such limited capacity for the industry to absorb ongoing technology upgrades and process changes, CHIME implores CMS to allow 3-month quarter EHR reporting options in 2015.”

CHIME’s comments also asked that the agencies delete ambiguous attestation requirements related to the definition of “fully implemented” Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT). “A number of CHIME members have indicated their apprehension to take advantage of the new pathways created by this NPRM (because of) how this proposed rule defines ‘full implementation’ of CEHRT since the examples do not adequately represent their situation,” CHIME stated.

“Given the industry’s experience with Meaningful Use audits, there is a lot of anxiety over how such a requirement would be validated,” said CHIME Board Chair Randy McCleese, FCHIME, LCHIME, CHCIO, Vice President of Information Services and CIO at Moorhead, Kentucky-based St. Claire Regional Medical Center.  “The fear generated by meaningless audits can be crippling for small and rural organizations like ours. Ambiguity in what constitutes ‘full CEHRT implementation’ defeats the primary intent of this NPRM – namely, to encourage continued participation in the program.”

Overall, CHIME believes “these new pathways will provide much-needed relief to hundreds of thousands of providers struggling to meet MU requirements in 2014, due to circumstances beyond their control,” but CHIME is asking agencies to “explicitly state its intentions to let providers meet MU requirements retrospectively in 2014, if they are able.”

Finally, CHIME offered its support of the one-year extension of Stage 2 for providers that first qualified as meaningful users of EHR technology in 2011 and 2012. “This is a necessary extension to give policymakers time to evaluate past experience and incorporate lessons learned into the third Stage of Meaningful Use,” CHIME stated.

“From Day One, CHIME has been an adamant supporter of Meaningful Use, and we remain supporters to this day,” said Branzell. “Our comments and recommendations are pragmatic and meant to ensure that industry, government and taxpayer investments are properly managed.  We are confident that if CMS makes these common sense changes, we can realize the benefits of a modern, connected healthcare system.”

The full text of CHIME’s response to the proposed modifications to the Meaningful Use program can be found at http://www.cio-chime.org/advocacy/resources/download/CHIME_Response_to_Modifications_MU_2014_Final.pdf

About CHIME
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,400 CIO members and more than 130 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.cio-chime.org.

June 30, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

CMS Rule to Change EHR Certification Requirement and Meaningful Use Stage 2 Schedule

Rule also proposes to extend Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs through 2016

Today, HHS published a new proposed rule that would provide eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals more flexibility in how they use certified electronic health record (EHR) technology (CEHRT) to meet meaningful use. The proposed rule, from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), would let providers use the 2011 Edition CEHRT or a combination of 2011 and 2014 Edition CEHRT for the EHR reporting period in 2014 for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Beginning in 2015, all eligible hospitals and professionals would still be required to report using 2014 Edition CEHRT. Since the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs began in 2011, more than 370,000 hospitals and professionals nationwide have received an incentive payment.

“We have seen tremendous participation in the EHR Incentive Programs since they began,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “By extending Stage 2, we are being receptive to stakeholder feedback to ensure providers can continue to meet meaningful use and keep momentum moving forward.”

The proposed rule also includes a provision that would formalize CMS and ONC’s previously stated intention to extend Stage 2 through 2016 and begin Stage 3 in 2017. These proposed changes would address concerns raised by stakeholders and will encourage the continued adoption of Certified EHR Technology.

“Increasing the adoption of EHRs is key to improving the nation’s health care system and the steps we are taking today will give new options to those who, through no fault of their own, have been unable to get the new 2014 Edition technology, including those at high risk, such as smaller providers and rural hospitals,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H, M.Sc., national coordinator for health information technology.

Proposed changes to meaningful use timeline

New Meaningful Use and EHR Certification Timelines - Meaningful Use Stage 2 Delay

For more information about the EHR Incentive Programs, please visit http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms. For more information about CEHRT, please visit http://www.healthit.gov.

May 20, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Nation’s Providers Recommend More Time, Flexibility for Meaningful Use in 2014

Healthcare CIOs continue to voice challenges related to 2014 ‘time crunch’

ANN ARBOR, MI, February 24, 2014 – In a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and forty-seven other of the nation’s largest healthcare provider organizations issued a joint call for additional time and flexibility in the Meaningful Use program to ensure its continued success.

While underscoring the Meaningful Use program’s invaluable role in advancing technology adoption among hospitals and physicians, the letter states that strict adherence to current program requirements endangers overall success of the EHR program, disrupts providers’ healthcare operations and potentially jeopardizes patient safety.

“Given that we have just celebrated the anniversary of HITECH, we can look back at the last five years with great pride and take stock of how far we’ve come – as an industry and as a nation,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell FCHIME, CHCIO. “But we must look ahead and recognize the immense work in front of us. Now is the time to make much-needed course corrections to ensure that we continue this success well past HITECH’s tenth anniversary.”

The letter reiterates many points made by several organizations dating back to May 2013, including letters from CHIME; the American Hospital Association (AHA); the American Medical Association (AMA); the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA); the American College of Physicians (ACP); the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP); and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).

The latest letter, the first to be issued jointly by more than 40 organizations, comes in response to concerns that the nation’s 5,000 hospitals and 550,000 eligible professionals must adopt the latest certified versions of EHR technology and meet more difficult program requirements to remain in compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program. Hospitals only have until July to adopt, implement, test and train staff to meet either Stage 1 or Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements in 2014. Eligible professionals have until October to begin collecting data to attest to meeting program requirements.

“Failure to do so will not only result in a loss of incentive payments, but also the imposition of significant penalties,” the letter states, adding that, “it is clear the pace and scope of change have outstripped the ability of vendors to support providers.”

“Providers need adequate time to learn how to use the newly deployed technology,” the letter said, noting that implementing EHRs has wide implications for staffing, workflow and care delivery practices. “If providers move forward, as dictated by the current policy, our concerns regarding rushed implementations are heightened. Furthermore, we believe that an ‘all or nothing’ approach – where missing a single objective by even a small amount results in failure for the program year – compounds our concerns.”

The current structure of the system essentially leaves providers with two options, said Branzell. “Providers will either abandon any hope of meeting Meaningful Use criteria this year, or they’ll be forced to implement a system more rapidly than they would otherwise. The first option works against everything the federal program has sought to achieve over the first two years, while the second option is inefficient and endangers patient safety.”

The letter seeks an extension through 2015 for providers to implement 2014 Edition Certified EHR software, and meet program requirements for either Stage 1 or Stage 2. It also requests flexibility in the scorecard used to assess completion of meaningful use requirements to enable as many providers as possible to successfully meet program requirements.

CHIME Board Chairman Randy McCleese FCHIME, CHCIO, Vice President of IS and CIO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Kentucky, noted that providers will begin to see penalties – reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements – beginning in 2014 if they don not meet program requirements. “The country won’t be able to achieve important health reform efforts without support from information systems, and given current obstacles faced by providers in implementing this crucial technology, we must make a substantive course correction,” he said.

Sign-on Organizations Include the Following:

AMDA-Dedicated to Long Term Care Medicine

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

American Academy of Dermatology Association

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Academy of Home Care Medicine

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

American Academy of Neurology

American Academy of Ophthalmology

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery

American Association of Neurological Surgeons / Congress of Neurological Surgeons

American College of Cardiology

American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians

American College of Osteopathic Internists

American College of Osteopathic Surgeons

American College of Physicians

American College of Radiology

American College of Rheumatology

American College of Surgeons

American Health Information Management Association

American Hospital Association

American Medical Association

American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics

American Osteopathic Association

American Psychiatric Association

American Society for Clinical Pathology

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

American Society for Radiation Oncology

American Society of Anesthesiologists

American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery

American Society of Hematology

American Urological Association

America’s Essential Hospitals

Association of American Medical Colleges

Catholic Health Association of the United States

Children’s Hospital Association

College of Healthcare Information Management Executives

Federation of American Hospitals

Heart Rhythm Society

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Medical Group Management Association

National Rural Health Association

North American Spine Society

Premier healthcare alliance

Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions

Society of Thoracic Surgeons

The Endocrine Society

VHA Inc.

 About CHIME

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,400 CIO members and over 100 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.cio-chime.org

February 24, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Encore Health Resources CoreANALYTICS Architecture Receives 2014 EHR Certification

HOUSTON – January 17, 2014Encore Health Resources announced today that its CoreANALYTICS® 1.0 architecture – a set of integrated analytical tools that help drive continuous health-system performance improvement – has been listed on the federal government’s Certified Health IT Product List website as compliant with the ONC 2014 Edition criteria as an EHR Module.  The CoreANALYTICS EHR certification formally occurred on November 27, 2013 by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®), an ONC-ACB, in accordance with the certification criteria adopted by the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The ONC 2014 Edition criteria support both Stages 1 and 2 meaningful use measures required to qualify eligible providers and hospitals for funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

CoreANALYTICS is a set of integrated analytical tools that, coupled with Encore services, helps to drive continuous health-system performance improvement through the application of “smart, skinny data,” or an Encore approach that focuses on capturing just the data required to solve specific problems.

“We believe this certification confirms that Encore’s CoreANALYTICS software tools are poised to assist health systems meet and exceed thresholds for the quality and performance measures required to qualify for U.S. Government EHR Meaningful-Use incentive payments and avoid associated penalties – as well as manage emerging, at-risk government and commercial payment models” said Sherie Giles, Partner for Research and Development, Encore Health Resources. “CoreANALYTICS comprises a uniquely comprehensive solution that transforms data generated by EHRs as well as financial and operational systems, into actionable intelligence for proactive management of patient populations, quality, and costs.  This helps providers navigate through and beyond challenges posed by the healthcare industry’s rapid shift from fee-for-service to fee-for value care-delivery and reimbursement models.”

The ONC HIT Certification Program certifies that EHR Modules meet one or more – but not all – of the 2014 Edition criteria approved by the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) for either eligible provider or hospital technology.

“CCHIT congratulates companies successfully achieving EHR technology certification,” said Alisa Ray, executive director, CCHIT.  “These companies are now able to make their products available to providers wishing to adopt health IT to demonstrate meaningful use and earn federal incentives.”

CoreANALYTICS 1.0’s certification number is CC-2014-100098-1.  ONC HIT certification conferred by CCHIT does not represent an endorsement of the certified EHR technology by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

CoreANALYTICS 1.0’s modular certification qualifies the technology as capable of supporting achievement of meaningful use for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs. The technology is also differentiated by its analytics engine – included in the certification — which enriches information through proven data derivation and measure calculations, successfully demonstrated compliance criteria for Clinical Quality Measures (CQM) and Utilization Measures (Core/Menu Set).

CoreANALYTICS 1.0 met the following certification criteria and clinical quality measures: § 170.314(c)(1), capture and export; 170.314(c)(2), incorporate and calculate; § 170.314(c)(3), electronic submission; § 170.314(g)(2), automated measure calculation; and § 170.314(g)(4) quality management system.  It also met the following clinical quality measures:  CMS55v2, CMS71v3, CMS72v2, CMS73v2, CMS91v3, CMS102v2, CMS104v2, CMS105v2, CMS107v2, CMS108v2, CMS109v2, CMS110v2, CMS111v2, CMS114v2 and CMS190v2.

Additional costs incurred may include:  Software License Agreement; Implementation fees per source system, including install, training, and source system connectivity; any client costs necessary to bring hardware to recommended configuration.

About Encore Health Resources

Encore Health Resources is one of the most successful consulting firms in the health information technology (HIT) industry.  Founded in 2009 and led by Encore CEO Dana Sellers and President Tom Niehaus, the company provides consulting services and solutions that assist its expanding client base with a wide range of HIT strategy, advisory, implementation, process-redesign, and optimization initiatives.  Encore focuses on capturing the right data at the right time, establishing analytical capabilities that meet the evolving information and reporting needs of healthcare providers to document and improve clinical and operational performance. For more information, please visit http://encorehealthresources.com/.

About CCHIT

The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®) is an independent, 501©3 nonprofit organization with the public mission of accelerating the adoption of robust, interoperable health information technology.  The Commission has been certifying electronic health record technology since 2006 and is authorized by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) as a certification body (ONC-ACB).  CCHIT is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a certification body for the ONC HIT Certification Program for electronic health record (EHR) technology and accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as an accredited Testing Laboratory (ATL) to test EHRS.  More Information on CCHIT and its programs is available at http://cchit.org.

January 16, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Meaningful Use Timeline Shift Does Not Afford Flexibility in 2014

ANN ARBOR, MI, December 6, 2013– The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has confirmed with HHS officials that the proposed Meaningful Use Stage 2 extension / Stage 3 delay does not change front-end requirements for Meaningful Use in 2014 and does not afford much needed flexibility to providers working to install and upgrade new technology.

While CHIME believes that the federal agency’s announcement Friday gives vendors and policymakers flexibility to ensure the outcomes sought in Stage 3 are realized, we are disappointed that it does not provide the flexibility for providers requested in previous recommendations. CHIME strongly urges CMS to consider previous recommendations to give eligible hospitals and eligible professionals flexibility in meeting the start date of Stage 2. CHIME reiterates its belief that some providers will need an additional year to install, test, implement and operationalize the new certified EHR software.

In 2014, more than 500,000 hospitals and physicians are required to upgrade or adopt, new technology to meet Meaningful Use requirements.  Technology required in 2014 as part of Meaningful Use will enable clinicians across the country to better coordinate care, manage population health and drive efficiencies across care settings – but only if the technology implementation is appropriately timed and the change-process effectively managed.

“There is a perfect storm brewing,” said Russ Branzell, CHIME’s CEO.  “With ICD-10 compliance coming into view, with HIPAA compliance demanding renewed attention and with all the activities associated with the Affordable Care Act converging in 2014, providers are nearing a breaking point.  Flexibility of the kind announced today is beneficial for Stage 3, but Stage 2 start-date flexibility is needed to ensure long-term success.”

CHIME announced its policy recommendations to extend allowable reporting periods for Meaningful Use last May.  Since then, a group of US Senators communicated their concerns to HHS, as well as a host of other providers including the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Health Information Management System Society, American College of Physicians, National Rural Health Association, Medical Group Management Association, and Academy of American Family Physicians have sought more time to meet Meaningful Use in 2014.

About CHIME
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,400 CIO members and over 100 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.cio-chime.org

December 6, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

HIMSS Supports Stage 2 Extension

Washington, DC (December 6, 2013) – HIMSS is gratified that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT have heard concerns from health stakeholders and extended Meaningful Use Stage 2 by one year.  This additional time to attest offers an opportunity for increased feedback and analysis on technology implementation, eClinical Quality Measure reporting, and progress toward interoperability that will enhance the ability of eligible hospitals and eligible professionals to meaningfully use health IT, and thus improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of patient care.

In August, HIMSS issued a Call For Action recommending launching Stage 2 Meaningful Use on-schedule and extending Year 1 of the Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestation period, allowing at least 18 months in which Eligible Hospitals (EHs) and Eligible Providers (EPs) can attest to Meaningful Use requirements for one quarter.  HIMSS shared its position on extending the deadline for Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestation in an Aug. 15 letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner; and then-National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. Farzad Mostashari.

The latest data from the more than 5,400 hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics database indicate clear challenges for eligible hospitals and tethered ambulatory care facilities preparing for Meaningful Use Stage 2.  These data show:

  • Up to 72 percent of eligible hospitals, and
  • 44 percent of tethered ambulatory facilities

have purchased the necessary software to attest to the 2014 Certification requirements.  We continue to monitor the important issue of upgrades to the correct certified version.

HIMSS looks forward to working with the government and continuing to engage our stakeholders, chapters, events, and resources to ensure the effective adoption and implementation of electronic health records for improved patient care.

About HIMSS

HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.
HIMSS is a part of HIMSS WorldWide, a cause-based, global enterprise producing health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS WorldWide encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause.  HIMSS WorldWide, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

CHIME Praises Senators for Urging HHS Extension to Meaningful Use Stage 2

ANN ARBOR, MI, September 24, 2013 – The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) praised several Senators today for their letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urging the Department to extend Stage 2 Meaningful Use by one year.

CHIME believes the extension of Stage 2 will give providers sufficient time to meet new program requirements, while maintaining software development and deployment deadlines, and it will better enable patients to receive the benefits of an e-enabled U.S. healthcare system.

“We strongly believe that EHR incentive payments under the policy of Meaningful Use have been essential in moving the nation’s healthcare system into the 21st Century,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell FCHIME, CHCIO. “Since we began this conversation last May, our belief was the industry would best be served by maximizing the opportunity of program success, which means maximizing participation in Meaningful Use. This letter is an important step towards seeing that opportunity seized.”

In May of this year, CHIME responded to a Senate report entitled, “REBOOT: Re-examining the Strategies Needed to Successfully Adopt Health IT,” by outlining the numerous ways hospitals and clinicians are making great strides in EHR adoption with the help of federal incentive payments. “The work accomplished through Meaningful Use to reach consensus on transport, vocabulary and content standards is foundational to advancing interoperability and exchange,” CHIME wrote. “Additionally, we know that many U.S. hospitals and physicians rely on the expectation of incentive monies in executing their business plans for EHRs and interoperability solutions.”

But CHIME also acknowledged a need to evaluate program results and monitor timelines to ensure program success in subsequent Stages. For example, CMS had spent over $15.1billion through May 2013, with more than 50 percent of eligible hospitals (EHs) and over 30 percent of eligible professionals (EPs) having achieved Stage 1 Meaningful Use. Currently, 70 percent of hospitals and 46 percent of EPs have achieved Stage 1 Meaningful Use, or approximately 240,500 hospitals and physicians.

“With this great success comes an obligation to ensure that those who have started down the path do not miss the end goal,” said Sharon F. Canner, Senior Director of CHIME Public Policy. “Some 500,000 providers will be required to use new technology in 2014, regardless of Stage, and many providers simply will not have the time to upgrade software in a safe, responsible manner to meet Meaningful Use criteria.”

In its May letter, CHIME formally and strongly recommended a one year extension to the Meaningful Use reporting requirements in 2014, arguing that providers need more time to optimize EHR technology and flexibility to achieve the benefits of 2014 Edition EHRs and Stage 2 requirements. CHIME has developed a number of policy recommendations and educational resources, available here.

By the end of August, several provider associations echoed CHIME’s call for an extension, including a joint letter from the American Hospital Association and American Medical Association, and letters from the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Health Information Management Systems Society, the National Rural Health Association and the Medical Group Management Association.

“These 17 Senators have evaluated program data, heard from constituents and acted in a responsible manner by issuing their request to HHS Secretary [Kathleen] Sebelius,” said Branzell. “The tenor of Senate’s letter echoes that of CHIME and others who desperately want this program to succeed, but also know that some changes are needed.”

“We look forward to continuing our work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Office of the National Coordinator, and members of the House and Senate to ensure that the nation’s hospitals and physicians achieve the benefits of an e-enabled healthcare system.”

About CHIME
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,400 CIO members and over 100 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.cio-chime.org.

September 24, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

CHIME Members Testify During Federal Hearing on Implementation and Usability

CIOs encourage additional focus on standards development, highlight challenges related to Meaningful Use Stage 2

ANN ARBOR, MI, July 23, 2013 – Four members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) testified to federal officials today, calling for safe, orderly transition to Meaningful Use Stage 2 that leaves no one behind.

During a joint hearing of two Federal Advisory Committees in Washington, D.C., chief information officers (CIOs) representing facilities in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia spoke to officials on Meaningful Use Stage 1 implementation, Stage 2 readiness, and Stage 3 proposed policies. Believing Stage 1 had accomplished great strides in electronic health record (EHR) adoption, the panel of CIOs highlighted common challenges surrounding Stage 2.  Specifically, they identified objectives related to transitions of care, patient portals, and clinical quality measures (CQMs) as posing the greatest challenges for their organizations.

“All of the objectives listed as challenges require significant work to implement after upgrading to 2014 certified software,” said Pamela McNutt, Sr. Vice President and CIO at Dallas-based Methodist Health System. “For example, after delivery of the patient portal we will have to map data elements from the patient record and clinical staff will need to ensure that the data is representing accurately.”

McNutt added that sacrificing accuracy for speed presents significant concerns in terms of the timeline to demonstrate 100 percent compliance of Stage 2 by July 1, 2014 for eligible hospitals (EHs).

Tom Pagano, CIO at HCA Capital Division in Richmond, and Rodney Dykehouse, CIO at Penn State Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine, further explained that vendors are forced into selecting a specific workflow to certify, and providers often find they must either ask for modifications to their reporting logic, or completely change an existing (embedded) workflow.

“We’re not opposed to changing workflow if it is a better workflow, but we are opposed to changing a workflow only to ‘prove’ that we’re meeting the intent of the requirement,” Dykehouse said.

Current adoption trends for EHRs are promising, with nearly 79 percent of all eligible hospitals (EHs) and over 55 percent of eligible professionals (EPs) having received an EHR incentive payment under Medicare or Medicaid since 2011. However, the structure of the incentives program has created a timing crunch in 2014 when over 500,000 hospitals and physicians are required to upgrade their existing technology to demonstrate meaningful use.

“The difficultly in achieving meaningful use, beyond the new, more complex objectives, is compounded by the short timeframes allowed for hospitals to implement 2014 certified EHRs.” said Randy McCleese, Vice President of Information Systems and CIO at Morehead, Kentucky-based St. Claire Regional Medical Center.

To alleviate this short timeframe, CHIME recently called for an extension of Stage 2 to ensure momentum towards widespread adoption of EHRs was maintained; flexibility was granted to hospitals and physicians striving towards meeting program requirements of their respective stage; and policymakers had time to assess and evaluate programmatic trends needed to craft thoughtful Stage 3 rules.

“The EHR Medicare and Medicaid Incentive program has played a major role in advancing the adoption of health IT in the US, yet certain changes are needed to assure this initiative enables improvements in care quality, increases affordability, and improves healthcare outcomes,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell. “To accomplish these goals, CHIME strongly encourages HHS to amend existing timelines for 2014, thus promoting a safe, orderly transition to Stage 2 that leaves no one behind.

About CHIME
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,400 CIO members and over 95 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.cio-chime.org

July 23, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.