Washington Debrief: House Bill Enables Blanket MU Hardship Exemptions for 2015 | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Washington Debrief: House Bill Enables Blanket MU Hardship Exemptions for 2015

November 9, 2015
by Leslie Kriegstein, Interim Vice President of Public Policy, CHIME
| Reprints
Click To View Gallery

Congressional Affairs

House Bill Enables Blanket MU Hardship Exemptions for 2015

Key Takeaway: Legislation was introduced last week that would enable the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to grant blanket hardship exemptions in 2015 to eligible professionals and hospitals due to the delayed release of the Stage 2 modifying rules.

Why It Matters: The Meaningful Use Hardship Relief Act of 2015 (H.R. 3940), introduced by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), a physician and chairman of the House Budget Committee, would give CMS the ability to grant blanket hardship exemptions to program applicants in 2015 citing the late publication of the Meaningful Use Modifications Rule, rather than on a case-by-case basis as current authority dictates. The bill has six original cosponsors.

Hospitals and physicians will have until late winter to apply for a hardship exemption for the 2015 program year. Many provider organizations have called on CMS to be generous in granting hardship exemptions for 2015 due to the late release of the modifications rule.

Leslie Kriegstein

Federal Affairs

HHS Inspector General 2016 Work Plan Includes Device Security and EHRs in ACOs

Key Takeaway: Last week, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled their 2016 Work Plan. It includes additional oversight of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and an enhanced focus on data security. The work plan highlights that the exchange of electronic health information is a top challenge facing HHS.

Why It Matters: Industry stakeholders including CHIME have called for clear direction and additional resources to be made available by HHS relative to cybersecurity and the protection of digital health information, citing a lack of federal leadership on the critical issue of cybersecurity. The IG’s announcement of increased focus on cybersecurity and the protection of electronic protected health information (ePHI) could generate findings that could be useful to the healthcare industry as we collectively seek to improve our overall preparedness to growing cyber threats.

The work plan highlighted a new oversight focus on networked medical devices overseen by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the extent to which health information is protected. The integration of medical devices into EHRs and a hospital’s network could pose signification security risks, according to the work plan.

The IG also described a report due out next year that will examine HHS's Office for Civil Rights and its oversight of the security of electronic health information.

Of note, “OIG has identified the meaningful and secure exchange and use of electronic information and health information technology, as top management challenges facing the Department. Going forward, OIG’s planning efforts will consider the significant challenges that exist with respect to Health IT adoption; meaningful use; and interoperability across providers, across HHS, and between providers and patients.”

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.

Learn More

Topics

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.