By Brian Robinson,
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is still on target to publish by the end of the year a proposed rule on the meaningful use of electronic health records, despite growing fears from industry about the possible impact of the regulation.
Tony Trenkle, director of the Office of e-Health Standards and Services at CMS, said he had been spending a lot of time with health industry folks who have expressed “concerns and fears” about what will be in the regulation.
Those include how high the bar will be set for meeting meaningful use targets during the first year of implementation, and whether the industry will be able to meet them, he told a meeting today of National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS).
Other concerns include whether hospitals outpatient clinics would be eligible to receive separate payments, whether quality measures will disadvantage specialty health providers, and worries particularly by the states about whether CMS would be able to harmonize Medicare and Medicaid requirements.
Under the HITECH Act, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, health care providers can receive payments from both the Medicare and Medicaid programs if they can demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs. Payments are due to begin in 2011.
One of the major outcomes of the Nov. 19-20 NCVHS meeting is expected be a letter setting out recommendations to the Secretary of the Health and Human Services for measures that can be applied to decide on just what meaningful use is.
They include commissioning a “fast track” study from the Institute of Medicine on a national strategy for quality measurement development, to begin a process to identify essential data elements, to require EHR vendors to use defined quality data elements, and to require that any certified EHR be able to add data elements that may be defined in the future.
The NCVHS expects to release the final version of the letter at the Nov. 20 conclusion of its meeting.
Above article published on http://www.govhealthit.com/newsitem.aspx?nid=72449