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D.C. Report: Correction to MU Stage 2 Proposed Rule, Medical Device Identifier System Promoted

April 24, 2012
by Jeff Smith, Assistant Director of Advocacy at CHIME
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CMS Publishes Corrections to MU Stage 2 Proposed Rule The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has publishedcorrections to its Meaningful Use Stage 2 proposed rule in the Federal Register.  Several of the changes are clerical corrections and do not substantively change the proposed measures and objectives. Here’s a full listing of the corrections.

Senators Continue to Beat Medical Device Identifier Drum During a hearing this week, the first Congress has held since before Easter, the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee, introduced the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act.  The bill, sponsored by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), largely looks to reform and extend user fee programs covering prescription drugs and medical devices.  But the legislation would also mandate that HHS issue a final rule by December 31, 2012 and “implement the unique device identification system…as soon as practicable.’’  Implementation of a UDI System has been law since 2007 and a proposed rule has been at the Office of Management and Budget for review since July 2011.  As previously reported in Advocacy Corner, Senate leaders have been itching for a final rule, urging OMB in Februaryto release the delayed rule.

HHS Updates National Plan to Prevent HAIs HHS is aggressively pursuing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and an update to its National Plan to Prevent HAIs, it underscored the role of health IT.  "Advances in information technology, harmonization of disparate data standards, incentive programs designed to promote the meaningful use of electronic health records and capabilities to connect with and integrate multiple data types and sources all provide opportunities to enhance national capacity to monitor, measure and prevent the occurrence of HAIs," HHS said in the updated plan, published Thursday.  The National Plan outlined four goals involving information systems and technology

·         Goal A: Establish and maintain definitional alignment and identify standardized data elements that are needed to measure HAIs across HHS agencies and encourage existing federal participation with Standards Development Organizations and the Health IT Standards Committee to ensure that gaps in the available standards are addressed;

·         Goal B: Provide guidance to enable integration of HAI data from multiple HHS databases for the purpose of benchmarking progress in reducing HAIs;

·         Goal C: Mobilize health information systems to help reinforce appropriate patient safety recommended clinical practices; and,

·         Goal D: Seek strategic opportunities to make varied HHS data systems interoperable to enhance understanding of HAIs.

A recently-completed federal HAI data system inventory has helped clarify the extent of definitional alignment and data element standardization among the inventoried systems, the report said, saying the effort was “an important first step toward mobilizing health information systems in ways that address strategic gaps in HAI coverage at the local, state, and national levels.”

Louisiana Makes First Meaningful Use Incentive Payment in U.S. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has “confirmed that the Louisiana Department of Health Hospitals made the first Meaningful Use payment in the nation for the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program… Winn Community Health Center, which was the first federally qualified health center (FQHC) in the nation to receive an incentive payment during the first phase of EHR Incentive Program implementation, was also the first recipient of the Meaningful Use incentive.”  A press releasenotes that “As of March 30, 2012, 74 hospitals and 1,030 medical professionals statewide have received a total of $105.9 million in federal financial incentive payments, ranking Louisiana first in the nation for Medicaid EHR incentive payments per capita and third overall.”