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AHA, HIMSS Support CMS Plans for Meaningful Use, MyHealthEData

AHA and HIMSS commended CMS for its efforts to revamp meaningful use and improve patient EHR access.

AHA, HIMSS comment on new CMS meaningful use, MyHealthEData plans.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- HIMSS and AHA voiced support for CMS after the federal agency revealed plans to overhaul meaningful use requirements as part of the EHR Incentive Programs and to promote patient EHR access through the Trump Administration’s MyHealthEData initiative.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced the attempts to better position the healthcare industry to transition to value-based care at HIMSS18 in Las Vegas earlier this week.

In addition to improving the EHR Incentive Programs and assisting with the launch of MyHealthEData, CMS also announced Bluebutton 2.0. Bluebutton 2.0 is a standards-based application programming interface (API) that will allow Medicare beneficiaries to connect their claims data to secure applications, services, and research programs of their choosing.

The API will also let Medicare beneficiaries more efficiently use their claims data and reduce duplicative testing for lower healthcare spending.

“Administrator Verma’s announcement of Bluebutton 2.0 and call to accelerate innovation to release data is a strong indication that CMS is moving in a direction that envisions the next state of our healthcare system, one with safe and efficient care delivery,” wrote HIMSS in a public statement.

“Administrator Verma described a path for CMS that ensures patients are empowered to control their own data, so that the right information about the right patient is available to the right provider at the right time,” the organization continued.

HIMSS also applauded CMS for its efforts to further liberate EHR data for improved health data exchange. Improved interoperability will reduce duplicative testing and unnecessary medical services and allow for more accurate, necessary patient care.

“Reaffirming its commitment to value-based care delivery, HIMSS champions a health system that delivers safe, accessible, cost-effective, and efficacious care,” wrote HIMSS. “The importance of secure electronic exchange of health data to value-based care cannot be underestimated.”

In regards to the federal agency’s plans to overhaul the EHR Incentive Programs, HIMSS stated it will work with CMS to ensure future policy better aligns with the goals of value-based care.

“HIMSS continues its pledge to work with CMS to ensure that incentives and CMS policies facilitate greater levels interoperability to achieve the overarching goal,” HIMSS wrote. “We need to leverage all available policy levers to incentivize more health system participants to share data.”

While Verma provided details and a fact sheet outlining the MyHealthEData initiative, CMS has not yet revealed forthcoming changes to meaningful use.

“We look forward to learning more about Administrator Verma’s announcement of a complete overhaul of the Meaningful Use program, changes to the Advancing Care Information performance category of the Quality Payment Program (QPP), and other Trump Administration announcements on the MyHealthEData Initiative,” concluded HIMSS.

AHA Vice President of Policy Chantal Worzala agreed with Verma’s sentiment that HITECH has been successful in spurring EHR adoption but that federal policy insufficiently supports value-based care.

“America’s hospitals and health systems are strongly committed to the use of technology to provide high-quality coordinated care, support new models of care, and engage patients in their health,” stated Worzala. “While the meaningful use program was successful in encouraging adoption of EHRs, it is now time to allow hospitals and clinicians to determine how best to leverage technology to support the secure exchange of health information to improve care and engage patients.”

AHA also disagreed with the CMS decision to mandate that all providers begin using 2015 Edition certified EHR technology (CEHRT) starting in 2019. 

“We are concerned, however, that the 2015 Edition Certified EHRs rely on immature standards, allow for variations in APIs across vendors, and are not yet widely available to providers,” said Worzala.

Apart from requirements related to the use of 2015 edition CEHRT, AHA stands by the federal agency’s decision to revamp meaningful use to reduce provider burden.

“The AHA looks forward to working with CMS to develop more flexible and less burdensome meaningful use requirements and MIPS/ACI options that are aligned across programs,” Worzala said. “We also believe a 90-day reporting period should be the standard for meaningful use.”

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