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CMS issues request for information on hospital and vendor EHR readiness

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is seeking information from hospitals and vendors on their electronic health record readiness beginning in 2014 for EHR hospital inpatient quality data reporting, according to a Jan. 3 notice in the Federal Register.

CMS says it aims to increase efficiency and reduce the burden associated with hospital collection and submission of patient-level data. It's also exploring ways that hospitals might be able to report data on a subset of Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program measures by using the same EHR technology used for reporting under the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.

The 2009 Health IT for Economic and Clinical Health Act was passed into law to promote the adoption of health IT products, services, and infrastructure, providing financial incentives in the form of payments through Medicare and Medicaid programs to encourage physicians and hospitals to adopt and use certified EHR, as well as payment adjustments under Medicare beginning in fiscal 2015 for failure to demonstrate "meaningful use."

In its request for information, CMS poses a litany of questions to both hospitals and EHR vendors, including whether they envision being able to meet the criteria for reporting clinical quality measures electronically established in the EHR Incentive Program Stage 2 final rule. And, if not, what the issues are in meeting the requirements and what additional information they need.

When it comes to hospitals, CMS specifically wants to know whether they are planning to adopt EHR technology that has been certified to the 2014 Edition EHR certification criteria during or before calendar year 2014, and if they are aware of the payment adjustments authorized under the HITECH Act beginning in fiscal 2015 for failing to demonstrate meaningful use under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.

In 2011, CMS started providing incentive payments to both hospitals and healthcare professionals that demonstrate certified EHR technology. To date, more than 120,000 eligible healthcare professionals and more than 3,300 hospitals have qualified to participate in the program and receive an incentive payment. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that CMS will pay out a total of $30 billion by 2019.

CMS has set a Jan. 22 deadline to receive feedback to their RFI from hospitals and EHR vendors.

For more:
- read the Federal Register notice

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