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Washington Debrief: Bracing for MACRA Regs

April 5, 2016
by Leslie Kriegstein, Vice President of Congressional Affairs, CHIME
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Lawmaker Considers a Mandate to Inform Patients of Ransomware Occurrence

Key Takeaway: On the heels of more reports of ransomware incidences at health systems across the nation, a California lawmaker is considering the circumstances under which patients should be notified of an attack.

Why it matters: Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), a member of Subcommittee on Information Technology of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has suggested revisions to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) to include a directive that hospitals notify patients if it is the victim to ransomware.

Under current law, facilities must notify their patients if their health records have been stolen or compromised during a breach. A ransomware attack may not extract patient data, rather it may only impede access to such data by providers. Lieu has also expressed interest in pursuing legislation to combat information blocking.

MACRA!

Key Takeaway: Not only is spring in the air, so is MACRA.

Why it Matters: CMS sent it proposed MACRA rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on March 25. This means the regulation is inching closer to publication. 

ONC Annual Meeting

Key Takeaway: Mark your calendars – ONC annual meeting is around the corner.

Why it Matters: The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is sponsoring its 6thannual meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. May 31-June 2. This year will bring three days of non-stop health IT talk. A third day was added this year to devote more time to discussing how to better enable “consumers to become partners in their health … through access to their health information and technology.” Stay tuned for registration details.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

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News

ONC Roundup: Senior Leadership Changes Spark Questions

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has continued to experience changes within its upper leadership, leading some folks to again ponder what the health IT agency’s role will be moving forward.

Media Report: Walmart Hires Former Humana Executive to Run Health Unit

Reigniting speculation that Walmart and insurer Humana are exploring ways to forge a closer partnership, Walmart Inc. has hired a Humana veteran to run its health care business, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Value-Based Care Shift Has Halted, Study Finds

A new study of 451 physicians and health plan executives suggests that progress toward value-based care has stalled. In fact, it may have even taken a step backward over the past year, the research revealed.

Study: EHRs Tied with Lower Hospital Mortality, But Only After Systems Have Matured

Over the past decade, there has been significant national investment in electronic health record (EHR) systems at U.S. hospitals, which was expected to result in improved quality and efficiency of care. However, evidence linking EHR adoption to better care is mixed, according to medical researchers.

Nursing Notes Can Help Predict ICU Survival, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that sentiments in healthcare providers’ nursing notes can be good indicators of whether intensive care unit (ICU) patients will survive.

Health Catalyst Completes Acquisition of HIE Technology Company Medicity

Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst, a data analytics company, has completed its acquisition of Medicity, a developer of health information exchange (HIE) technology, and the deal adds data exchange capabilities to Health Catalyst’s data, analytics and decision support solutions.