Impact Insights

Week in Review 12/12/14

Politico reports that the latest version of Congress’ omnibus spending bill – which was passed last night – does not include language that would delay ICD-10. The bill also does not shorten the length of the 2015 MU reporting period or change any of the Stage 2 measures.

Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: Turns out that the rumors about a provision being inserted to this spending bill that would delay ICD-10 by two additional years were just that: rumors. One can never say never when it comes to Congress, but this is a good reminder that unless specific language is included in a bill that actually passes, providers should remain on course with both ICD-10 and MU efforts.

 

CMS announced there has been a “significant increase” in MU attestations during the last month, according to Clinical Innovation & Technology. The latest data shows that through December 1 of this year, 3,696 hospitals have attested to MU for the 2014 reporting period; 1,681 of those hospitals attested to Stage 2. The numbers represent a sharp increase from this summer, when only 128 hospitals had successfully attested to any Stage for 2014 and only 10 had attested to Stage 2.

Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: We applaud all of the providers who were able to successfully attest to MU in 2014, especially given the difficult circumstances many were facing. We don’t think higher-than-expected attestation numbers means CMS should take a victory lap though; the scramble to meet the complicated 2014 requirements meant many organizations had to delay or even cancel some fairly important non-MU related IT projects. With a full year reporting period in 2015 (and with many hospitals still trying to attest to Stage 2 for the first time), achieving Meaningful Use will continue to be a significant and resource-intensive undertaking.

 

The latest JASON report, “Data for Individual Health,” offers recommendations on a variety of topics such as EHR interoperability and building a robust data infrastructure. For context, JASON is an independent group of scientists who provide science and technology recommendations to U.S. government agencies. The new JASON report notes (among many other things) the “explosion” in the number of sources and types of healthcare data and concludes “data opportunities are emerging faster than existing infrastructure(s) and current state of interoperability can handle.” The authors find that open application programming interfaces (APIs) for enterprise EHRs remains a “critical need,” and call for incentives (for example, a measure in CMS’ Value-Based Purchasing Program) for hospitals that adopt EHRs with “robust” APIs. The report also recommends that given the “broad agreement found in past reports,” it is time for HHS to actually act to “harmonize [previous] recommendations and promote paths forward.”

Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: There is a lot of information in the report, but some parts are definitely worth a read, particularly the sections on analytics and interoperability. Impact Advisors thinks the most important recommendation though is the one about it being “time to act.” After all, there really is not much disagreement about what needs to change for providers to get more out of all the data being captured electronically today; the challenge is moving forward with the plan that gets us there.

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