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New York State to Receive Incentives for EHRs

New York is set to receive $5.91 million, as one of the first of seven states which will obtain funds for the EHR incentive program provisioned in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). In the announcement the Director of the Operations at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) congratulated the state for qualifying for the incentives program and encouraged the adoption and implementation of EHRs nationwide. Read more…

ONC Adds New Members to Protect Security

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has included 17 members to the privacy and security workgroup of the Health IT Policy Committee advising the ONC on healthcare IT. This team advises the Policy Committee on privacy safeguards for health information exchange within meaningful use standards leading to incentives for providers. Read more…

ONC Rules on Track for December

The Department of Health and Human Services semi-annual regulatory agenda published today, December 7, is available at HHS rules for implementation of the HITECH Act are scheduled for publication December 2009. The anticipated rules will establish an initial set of data standards, implementation specifications, certification criteria of electronic health records, certification programs for healthcare IT, policies and procedures for the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program under Medicare and Medicaid. Read more…

ONC & CMS, Prepare for EHR & HITECH Goals

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will provide state Medicaid agencies guidance on how to provide proof of adequate health IT plans so that they can collect money available under the health IT stimulus legislation. As the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) establishes guidelines for nationwide healthcare information exchange and policy, particularly protection of privacy and security, it will coordinate programs among HHS agencies and other federal and public health agencies. Read more

5 Tips for Improving Medication Compliance

According to a group of experts from consumer and business organizations five recommendations to promote medication compliance include:
• Quality Improvement
• Care Coordination
• Health IT
• Patient/Provider Education and Engagement
• Health Services Research

CMS Changes to PQRI, ePrescribing Programs

The Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), first implemented in 2007, is a voluntary program that provides incentives for reporting data on certain quality measures for services provided under Medicare Part B. For additional information visit the CMS website. Important changes to physician quality reporting and e-prescribing incentives are being proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.The changes ahead add reporting measures and a way for reporting by group practice rather than individual physician, as well as provisions for EHR-based reporting. For e-prescribing, CMS aims to simplify the reporting measures. Read more…

HIPAA Rules Now Fine Violators up to $1.5 M

Prior to the HITECH Act, violators of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA could be fined no more than $100 for each violation or $25,000 for all identical violations of the same provision. Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued an interim final rule to strengthen enforcement and increase penalties for violations of HIPAA rules. Read more…

ONC Surveys Consumers on Health IT Exchange

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT plans to survey consumers about their attitudes toward health information exchange, including their views on privacy and security. The ONC will publish a report and hold a Web seminar to discuss the findings from the survey of a sample number of households, or about 2,500 respondents, the notice said. However, before it proceeds with the telephone polling, ONC wants input from the public on the proposal. The notice is online. The public has 60 days to comment. Read More…

Feds Crack Down on Medicare Fraud

According to HHS officials, medical identity theft occurs when someone steals personal information, such as a name and Medicare number, and uses it to obtain medical care, buy drugs or supplies or bill Medicare. New tips and a printable brochure produced by the HHS Office of the Inspector General are now available online. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Assistant Attorney General Tony West are urging seniors to take steps to avoid medical identification theft and Medicare fraud. The Department of Justice will continue to collaborate with the HHS “to protect the integrity of the nation’s public health programs and vigorously pursue those who seek to take advantage of our most vulnerable citizens.” Read more…

MGMA 09: Bills Mandate Electronic Transactions

All three healthcare reform bills pending in the House of Representatives and both bills currently before the Senate would mandate greater use of standardized electronic transactions for administrative and financial functions, the Medical Group Management Association says. The three pieces of legislation in the House would finally mandate standards for HIPAA claims-status attachments, though both Senate bills did not have this provision as of last week. Four of the five proposals also would require real-time transactions for eligibility verification and claims submission, supported by the machine-readable ID cards, though the bill that passed the Senate Finance Committee did not. Read more…