The Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) has offered some suggestions on what the new path forward of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’ Innovation Center should look like.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal earlier this fall, Seema Verma, CMS Administrator, said the Trump Administration plans to lead CMMI “in a new direction” to give providers more flexibility with new payment models and to increase healthcare competition.
Congress created the center in 2010 to test new approaches and models to pay for and deliver healthcare. In that op-ed, titled “Medicare and Medicaid Need Innovation,” Verma, who is an appointee of President Donald Trump, referred to CMMI as a “powerful tool” for CMS to improve quality and reduce costs. As such, Verma additionally announced in that op-ed piece that CMS is issuing a “request for information” to collect ideas on the path forward. Since that time, a variety of healthcare stakeholders have been offering suggestions on what that should look like.
Established in 2004, EHRA is comprised of more than 30 companies that supply the majority of EHRs to physician practices and hospitals across the U.S.
The association said in their letter to Verma, “Because of the foundational nature of health IT in payment model development and implementation, it is important that healthcare providers and organizations have access to the technology needed to participate. One way to facilitate this is to harmonize the technology requirements of new payment models with the requirements related to certified EHR technology (CEHRT) already incorporated into other programs, such as Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs) and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). If additional technology capabilities are needed for a program, aligning those technical needs with criteria included in CEHRT, as opposed to defining ad hoc prescriptive functional requirements, will help reduce vendor burden in developing new features and implementing them in customer systems.”
For example, the letter continued, “Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) participants only need to use a certified EHR, and were not required to adopt additional certified functionality. This alignment with pre-existing programmatic requirements promotes adoption amongst providers and allows health IT vendors to scale development efforts.”
In conclusion, EHRA said it “encourages CMS to collaboratively engage with health IT developers to ensure that the technology we are delivering to providers aligns with the needs of the models. As an association, we would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with CMS and other stakeholders in the development of these payment models and to lend our experience working with physician implementation of health IT when considering methods for increasing eligible clinician participation in Advanced APMs.”