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D.C. Report: One in Five Hospitals Receive Meaningful Use Payments through May

June 27, 2012
by Jeff Smith, Assistant Director of Advocacy at CHIME
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One in Five Hospitals Have Received Meaningful Use Payments through May: May was a good month for the Medicare & Medicaid EHR Incentive Payment programs.  As of June 1, more than 110,000 eligible professionals and 2,400 hospitals had received a total of $5.7 billion in meaningful use incentive payments, according to a monthly report released Tuesday from the Department of Health and Human Services.  Of those 2,400 hospitals, approximately 1,047 – or 21% of eligible hospitals – have received Meaningful Use payments for Medicaid, totaling about $1.9 billion.  On the Medicaid side, over 2,100 hospitals have received payments; however, Medicaid program participants do not need to demonstrate meaningful use to receive an incentive payment in the first year.  CMS had earlier this year set a goal of 100,000 providers paid through Meaningful Use incentives by the end of 2012.  “Meeting this goal so early in the year is a testament to the commitment of everyone who has worked hard to meet the challenges of integrating EHRs and health information technology into clinical practice,” said Acting Administrator Tavenner. 

Bipartisan Policy Center Releases Patient Matching Report: During an invite-only meeting in May, CHIME and member CIOs participated in a day-long discussion facilitated by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) on the topic of patient data-matching.  This week, BPC released an issue brief describing the challenges and outlining possible solutions to making sure the correct data is matched to the correct patient.  CHIME members including Randy McCleese, Bill Spooner, Neal Ganguly and Russ Branzell joined attendees from over a dozen other provider organizations and top officials from CMS, ONC and NIST.  During the meeting, both Bill Spooner and Neal Ganguly gave their perspectives on patient data-matching.  Mr. Spooner talked about SHARP Healthcare’s 20-year journey towards finding an approach that would yield the smallest chance for error.  Meanwhile, Mr. Ganguly talked about how CentraState is looking to mitigate matching errors while also sharing the results of a May 2012 survey of 128 chief health information officers (CIOs) conducted by CHIME.  According to the survey, nearly half of CIOs surveyed experienced false negative error rates of more than eight percent

with a majority (41 percent) of such rates ranging from eight to 20 percent.  And approximately 40 percent experienced false positive error rates of more than eight percent, with a majority (37 percent) of such rates ranging from eight to 20 percent.  Moreover, 19 percent of respondents indicated that their hospital had experienced an adverse event during the past year due to a patient information mismatch.

“Currently there is a high level of variability in approaches utilized for matching, with little information available about performance--or levels of accuracy,” the report said.  “Given the foundational role that patient matching plays in electronic health information sharing, additional standards and policies are needed to support improvements in both the accuracy and execution of methods used to match patients to their health records.”

CHIME will be among the attendees who convene at another pair of meetings, held this week by the BPC, to further discuss patient matching and a host of issues around interoperability and health information exchange.  More to come next week.

Senate, House Agree on Final Terms of FDA User Fee Bill; Draft Guidance for Mobile Medical Apps Can Continue Final details are set on the FDA user fee bill, as the House of Representatives voted this week to pass the conference bill by voice vote.  Readers of Advocacy Corner will remember past coverage of a mobile medical application study, that opponents called a de facto moratorium on FDA regulation.  Initially, the Senate bill would have required FDA to outline its proposed strategy for the regulation of mobile medical apps and convene a work group of external stakeholders to provide feedback on the strategy before FDA could issue guidelines.  However, the bill that emerged from the conference committee allows FDA to move forward on draft guidelines while HHS prepares a report on an “appropriate, risk-based regulatory framework pertaining to health information technology, including mobile medical applications that promotes innovation, protects patient safety and avoids regulator duplication.” 

CHIME Members Recognized During Visit to White House: A select number of healthcare providers were recognized by the White House and Health and Human Services Department at two events in Washington, D.C. this week for their accomplishments in health IT.  Hosted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), CHIME members Randy McCleese and Greg Wolverton were two of 82 healthcare providers from across the country whose progress in implementing HIT granted them an invitation to discuss the state of EHRs with government officials.  Both hospitals were designated as Meaningful Use Vanguards (MUVers) and both CIOs were recognized for their leadership in local efforts that will eventually move the nation toward an electronically-enabled healthcare system.  Attendees met one-on-one with ONC representatives to converse on such topics as Meaningful Use, quality improvement, interoperability and exchange, and increasing health IT adoption in rural and underserved communities. The breakout sessions were very productive and allowed for “some lively discussion on HIT issues,” said McCleese, who is also Chair of CHIME StateNet.  For more on the visit, check out this week’s CIO Connection eNewsletter.