Shaping the Substance of MACRA: EHRA Comments Set Foundations for Success

Few, if any, health care payment and delivery initiatives underway promise to have as much impact on the nation’s shift from volume to value-based reimbursements, holistic clinical delivery, and overall system sustainability as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

By establishing distinct and relatively complex delivery and payment tracks – the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs) – programmatic vigilance and collaboration is needed by all healthcare stakeholders.

And with current and future healthcare information technology solutions a critical part of the equation – building upon similar public and private payer programs such as patient-centered medical home (PCMH) and accountable care organization (ACO) structures – the Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) submitted detailed comments November 17 to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the agency’s MACRA request for information (RFI).

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EHRA’s Advice to ONC on Information Blocking

In October, we provided comments to ONC on its April 2015 “Report on Health Information Blocking”, in the spirit of collaborating to establish an environment where the right data can flow to the right party at the right time using a set of agreed-upon standards.  While some press coverage characterized our comments as negative (“…Prove It”), we in fact attempted to provide balanced feedback, recognizing that the first challenge is to come up with a definition of “information blocking” that everyone agrees on.

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When Health IT is Personal

Leigh Burchell, EHRA Chair and VP for Policy and Government Affairs for Allscripts, recently wrote about her own experience with health IT and how that has broadened her perspectives as both vendor and patient.  An excerpt:

“Recently…health IT has been personalized for me in an entirely different way, and I understand it from a new perspective. Thankfully, unlike many people who speak about the challenges they’re still encountering, my experience has largely been positive since becoming a breast cancer patient.”

Read the full post, “When health IT became personal: My journey with breast cancer” on the Allscripts blog.

 

 

 

Privacy and Security, and Building Patient Trust

Earlier this year, ONC published an updated “Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information” to help healthcare providers and ambulatory practices understand existing federal law on protected health information (PHI).  It provides guidance on how providers can use certified electronic medical record technology (CEHRT) to provide secure communications with their patients and, via secure and interoperable health IT, share patient data with other care providers.

There is a great deal of practical information provided in this guide that helps explain who is and who is not a business associate (BA), per the HIPAA regulations.   It also provides clear guidance as to when it is permissible to disclose PHI, when patient authorizations are required, and how to provide patient access to their health information.  In addition, there is a useful section on general cybersecurity explaining the threat of cyber-attacks, the use of mobile devices, and email and texting among providers and their patients.

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EHRA Launches Delivery System Reform Workgroup

As health IT professionals supporting hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals across the country, we are paying close attention to the significant efforts by both government and private sector stakeholders to shift the focus of our healthcare system away from volume-driven incentives and towards value-based reimbursement.  With that shift, we’re also seeing an increasing recognition for the important role that EHRs and other health information technology tools play in achieving our shared objectives of a more efficient, effective healthcare system.

In response, the EHR Association (EHRA) has launched the Delivery System Reform (DSR) Workgroup as a source of information and education for EHRA members, and to serve as a vehicle for providing input on related Congressional and regulatory initiatives and collaborating with other industry stakeholders.

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EHRA Leadership Insights: The SGR Repeal

Leigh Burchell (VP, Policy and Government Affairs at Allscripts), former vice chair of EHRA and current vice chair of our Public Policy Leadership Workgroup, provides background and insights into the recent repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) regulation, why your provider customers are happy about it, and how it moves us forward in implementing a value-based reimbursement model.

Read her post, “R.I.P. SGR” on the Allscripts blog.

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    Sarah Willis-Garcia
    EHRA Program Manager
    swillis@himss.org
    312-915-9518

    Elinore Boeke
    Communications and Media
    elinore @ kecommunications.net