September 17, 2010
Stimulus Update – June 14, 2010Status of Meaningful Use
Healthcare organizations across the country are waiting for news of impending updates to the Meaningful Use rules from both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology (ONC).
Leaders of these organizations are also worried about being able to implement all the objectives required to receive Medicare and Medicaid for incentives for Meaningful Use of a certified healthcare information technology (HIT) system. Providers made these worries clear earlier this year in public comments on proposed Meaningful Use rules. Many organizations argued for fewer requirements and still others pushed to delay or defer Meaningful Use deadlines.
In a recent blog entry
, however, Dr. David Blumenthal, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, did not show signs of backing off on Meaningful Use requirements.
Dr. Blumenthal wrote that “this is the time to realize the promise of health IT”, and he said 60 Regional Extension Centers were resources to help hospitals and physicians adopt technology.Federal Advisory Committee Updates
The Federal Advisory Committees, which made recommendations to the ONC as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, continue to meet and discuss a variety of topics related to Meaningful Use.
On May 6, the HIT Policy Committee made recommendations on the Permanent Certification Program that the ONC has proposed. The committee praised the certification approach for creating objectivity and transparency, and it made several specific recommendations:
• The ONC should include the following elements in the surveillance process:
o Compliance with testing criteria
o Compliance with certification criteria
o Effectiveness of systems and implementations
• The National Coordinator should have the authority to decertify complete electronic medical records (EMRs) and EMR modules if a pattern of unsatisfactory surveillance results or patient-safety concerns emerge.
• For certification and testing for stages 2 and 3, the ONC should allow differential testing and certification if an HIT supplier meets specific conditions.
• The ONC should allow applicants to seek more limited authorization to test and certify complete EMRs for an ambulatory setting only, or to test and certify complete EMRs for hospital settings only.
• The committee agrees with construing the new “authorization” process as the HHS secretary’s method for “recognizing” certification bodies in the context of the physician self-referral EMR exception and anti-kickback safe harbor.
• The ONC should have future flexibility to certify other HIT systems, such as personal health records.
In addition, the committee made a number of recommendations on labeling of HIT systems. The ONC should:
• Establish a labeling requirement for complete EMRs and EMR modules that includes instructions for reporting certification and testing violations or concerns
• Require that certified EMR modules have a label that would indicate if the module has been tested for interoperability with other modules
• Require labeling to indicate the stage specific technology that the ONC has tested and certified, instead of using a date
These recommendations speak specifically to the Notice of Proposed Rule-Making released by the ONC in March, which described a temporary and permanent certification program. The committee’s recommendations also address the requirements for certifying bodies and the process that EMR providers will go through to certify their solutions before taking to market.
Works CitedHealth IT Policy Committee
. (2010, May 7). Retrieved June 14, 2010, from Health IT