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HHS Announces EHR Demo Project

October 30, 2007
by root
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Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt has announced a five-year demonstration project that he says will encourage small to medium-sized physician practices to adopt electronic health records (EHRs).

Conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the demonstration is open to participation by up to 1,200 physician practices beginning in the spring. Over a five-year period, Leavitt says, the program will provide financial incentives to physician groups using certified EHRs to meet certain clinical quality measures. A bonus will be provided each year based on a physician group's score on a standardized survey that assesses the specific EHR functions a group employs to support the delivery of care

Under the CMS demonstration, all participating practices will be required to use a certified EHR system to perform specific functions such as clinical documentation and ordering prescriptions. The system, which must be in place by the end of the second year, must also be approved by a certification body officially recognized by HHS. The core incentive payment to practices will be based on performance on the quality measures.

In order to amplify the effect of this demonstration project, CMS is encouraging private insurers to offer similar incentives for EHR adoption.

Secretary Leavitt also announced that HHS has begun the process of chartering Value Exchanges as part of the Value-Driven Health Care initiative. Through this, HHS will recognize local organizations that have convened purchasers, health plans, providers, and consumers to advance value-driven healthcare.

Ultimately, Chartered Value Exchanges will have access to Medicare physician quality performance measurement results that will be provided by CMS, likely as soon as the summer of 2008.

The CVE application process is open now through mid-December.

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