The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and its contractors have paid little attention to addressing potential fraud and abuse vulnerabilities in electronic health records, according to a report from Health and Human Services Department's Office of Inspector General.
Since the Veterans Affairs Department restarted its pharmacy reengineering software development project, or PRE, in 2009 it has missed milestones, lacked appropriate oversight and faces an uncertain future in terms of compatibility with other VA electronic health record plans, finds a Dec. 23, 2013 office of inspector general report (.pdf).
The contract for the enterprise service bus meant to connect the electronic health records of the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs has not been canceled, say military and industry officials, although an industry executive acknowledged that funding for it has been reduced.
The first draft of a request for proposals for the modernized Defense Department electronic health record is set for release in January, the newly-installed head of the DoD Healthcare Management System Modernization Program told an industry audience Nov. 13.
Nearly half of U.S. hospitals eligible for an incentive payment through the Medicare electronic health record program received one in fiscal 2012. The 2,291 hospitals that received a total of $3.5 billion in Medicare EHR incentive payments was up from 777 hospitals and $1.3 billion in fiscal 2011.
The Veterans Affairs Department has rolled out a suite of apps for clinicians and patients that pull information from the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture electronic health record. Among the patient-facing apps is a secure messaging tool for communicating with doctors and nurses, but soon it plans to take that tool a step further and begin communicating visually with the patient.
Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched a new eHealth Imitative, headed by Robert Tagalicod, director of the office of e-Health Standards and Services. The initiative's goal is to align health IT efforts and standards program with a focus that goes beyond the electronic health record incentive program.
Despite the fact that Defense Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall said there's a one-in-five chance the DoD will select a VistA-based technology for its electronic health record, the odds of the department making such a selection are hurt by a 2011 Gartner report (.pdf) commissioned by the VA and obtained by FierceGovernmentIT.
An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014 (H.R. 1960), which passed June 14, would impose reporting requirements on the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments' integrated electronic health record project, as well as stand up an advisory panel to provide additional oversight.
During a July 10 joint hearing of the House Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committees, VA and Defense Department officials laid out plans to continue pursuing two separate electronic health record solutions with the ability to interoperate in the "near term." This plan, according to a congressional source, has the approval of Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel.