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A Busy Year Ahead on the Regulatory Front

January 6, 2012
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Meaningful use Stage 2 requirements, NwHIN governance under consideration

Anyone who was hoping the pace of activity in health information technology regulation might slow down finally in 2012 is bound to be disappointed. There are a few federal rules that were scheduled to be released in 2011 that have been pushed into 2012, including the rule governing accounting of disclosures under the HIPAA privacy rule and the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rulemaking.

Then there are a series of important proposed rules expected this year. Meaningful use Stage 2 requirements will be published in January or February, with comments filed in March and April and a final rule published in July or August. The Office of the National Coordinator will also be releasing proposed standards and EHR certification criteria in the same time frame, as well as a proposed rule around Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) governance.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is also working out rules on Electronic Funds Transfer Standard in 2012. Then there are all the provisions of the health care reform law that have IT implications. For instance, 32 health care organizations from across the country are now participating in the Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) initiative. There are also new rules involving data collection to reduce health care disparities.  Effective March 23, 2012, the Affordable Care Act requires the collection and reporting of certain data on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language, and disability status.

Of course, besides all the ongoing policy work, CIOs will be grappling with meaningful use implementation and preparing for ICD-10 coding changes, which go into effect in 2013. (Remember when 2013 sounded like a long time in the future?)

All in all, it does not appear the pace of change is showing any signs of easing up. Stay tuned to Healthcare Informatics for in-depth analysis and CIO reactions to the proposed changes.

If there are any big ones that I’ve missed, please let me know!