Healthcare News May 30, 2013

  • CHIME to HHS: Extend Certification Criteria to HIE Market

    ANN ARBOR, MI, April 18, 2013 – The government should explore ways to extend the concept of certification to the health information exchange marketplace to advance interoperability, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) said in comments submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology released a joint request for information (RFI) March 7, outlining several possible changes to policies and programs to advance interoperability and health information exchange.  Some questions in the RFI seek feedback on the ability of payment system reforms, such as ACOs or bundled payments, to advance interoperability; other questions ask if changes to Conditions of Participation might be leveraged to encourage more exchange.

    CHIME answered all the questions posed by CMS and ONC in their response, focusing on a need to address technical barriers related to exchange.  “CHIME believes that the certification process, developed under the EHR Incentive Payments program, has had a major impact on the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology,” the organization said in a response to the RFI.  “As a policy lever, the impact of certification criteria developed for Meaningful Use cannot be understated.  Thus, CHIME recommends HHS extend the concept toward the health information exchange market, via standard interfaces, standard methods for isolating sensitive information, standard means to securely transport patient care information (i.e., Direct), standard ways to accurately identify patients and standard protocols for tracking consent.”

    The organization of healthcare CIOs urged both ONC and CMS to continue a strategy that enables local flexibility, while leading stakeholders in the development of specific technical standards, services, and policies that solve core problems, reduce costs and complexity, and facilitates nationwide interoperability.

    CHIME also supported the payment model changes underway at CMS and the CMS Innovation Center, also known as CMMI, as a way to enhance interoperability by creating a stronger business case for providers to exchange health information.  “CHIME believes CMS should continue the evolution of payment policies towards pay-for-value and away from fee-for-service,” the letter said.  But the letter also urged caution in applying blanket mandates to participate in exchange, saying, “While we believe any model of accountable care delivery cannot be successful without robust technology usage, CHIME believes that forcing miscellaneous exchange through requirements for participation, receipt of incentive payments, or avoidance of payment adjustments is a serious proposition – one that needs broad input from stakeholders.”

    Another important area highlighted by CHIME in its response, includes the issue of positive patient identification and accurate patient data-matching.  “As exchange increases from other treating providers outside of their primary practice or system, patient data-matching errors and mismatches will become exponentially more problematic and potentially dangerous.  As stated in a survey of CHIME membership[1] from May 2012, ‘Unintended injury or illness attributable to patient data-matching error is a considerable, and growing, problem in this era of health information exchange.  And with a substantial portion of CIOs involved with HIEs that use differing approaches to data matching, we can expect the inconsistency and variability inherent to healthcare IT systems to persist – and become more endemic – without national leadership and consistent standards.’  While technologies, architectures and strategies exist to mitigate errors, CHIME encourages CMS and ONC to dedicate substantial resources to this foundational challenge.”

    To read CHIME’s response to CMS and ONC in its entirety, click here.

    About CHIME
    The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,450 CIO members and over 95 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit


  • Immigrants heavily subsidize Medicare, study finds

    Immigrants to the United States heavily subsidize the Medicare Trust Fund while native-born Americans deplete it, according to a new study.

    Research published in the journal Health Affairs found that immigrants generated annual surpluses for Medicare of $11-17 billion between 2002 and 2009, with a gross surplus of $115.2 billion for that period.

    This contrasts with native-born workers, who generated a Medicare deficit of $30.9 billion in 2009 alone. 

  • Rubio to refocus on ObamaCare repeal in wake of IRS scandal

    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says he will increase his focus this summer on the need to repeal ObamaCare, after the IRS targeting scandal has shown that U.S. tax collectors are not fit to implement the law.

    “[T]he only answer to this is to repeal ObamaCare,” Rubio said of the IRS scandal in a Wednesday video on his website. “It’s just one more reason why this law is going to be a disaster for our country.

  • Availity and Greenway Apply Interoperability to Improve Health Care Delivery

    Summaries of patients’ clinical histories integrate with EHRs for ready access to details at point of care.

    Integration streamlines quality reporting for Florida physicians, and improves care coordination for members.

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Health information network Availity and ambulatory information solutions company Greenway Medical Technologies have joined in a project with Florida’s largest health insurer, Florida Blue, to enable physicians to exchange clinical and patient care summaries with the health plan through electronic health records (EHR) software, which then makes patient-specific clinical information accessible at the point of care. The companies are working together to foster collaborative coordinated care for all Florida residents.

    Delivering patient history and care reminders within the clinical workflow enables physicians and other clinicians to make better-informed care decisions by helping them to understand a patient’s history; eliminate duplicate or unnecessary services; and identify other treating providers.

    As part of the project, physicians using the Greenway PrimeSUITE EHR will see up to two years of patient care history sourced from Florida Blue, presented in the EHR workflow by way of integration with Availity’s patient care summary and encounter summary. Proactively presenting this information gives physicians a more holistic view of the patient’s medical history, at an opportune time in the patient encounter.

    Additionally, physicians can automate the exchange of important clinical data back to the health plan for quality improvement reporting. Two-way integration at the EHR level reduces phone, fax and paper exchanges between providers and health plans, while simultaneously improving care and reducing costs.

    Russ Thomas, CEO of Availity says, “Availity helps health care businesses remain healthy by meeting the information workflow demands faced by health plans, hospitals and physician practices. Ensuring information flows seamlessly among all stakeholders, when and where it is needed most, is critically important in this changing environment. Together with Greenway, we are applying creative solutions to help physicians become more comfortable with clinical measures being used in new reform-driven care delivery models, and to help their patients become more aware of the positive effects of coordinated care. This project is one more example of the kind of collaboration that we’re fostering to drive sustainable innovation in health care delivery.”

    “As a leading EHR provider with a strong presence in Florida, Greenway has the trusted physician desktop access and technology infrastructure to integrate with cutting-edge applications like Availity’s,” said Greenway chief operating officer Greg Schulenburg. “We’re innovative and flexible in integration, and nimble in rolling out new programs quickly and with minimal disruption–which means physicians will get the business benefits quickly and easily.”

    In 2012, Greenway Medical Technologies announced its early adoption of Availity’s expanded clinical documentation capabilities, and is showcasing this project as the first widespread example of how collaborative care can directly benefit physicians and patients. The project will continue throughout 2013.

    About Availity

    Availity delivers revenue cycle and related business solutions for health care professionals who want to build healthy, thriving organizations. Availity has the powerful tools, actionable insights and expansive network reach that medical businesses need to get an edge in an industry constantly redefined by change. To learn more, visit

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