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Texas HIE Gains CMS Approval as a MACRA Qualified Registry

CMS recently granted HASA approval to serve as a qualified registry to help eligible providers with meeting reporting requirements under MACRA.

Source: Thinkstock

- Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA), a Texas health information exchange, has recently received approval from by CMS to serve as a qualified registry capable of helping physicians and eligible healthcare providers with fulfilling reporting requirements under MACRA for Medicare payments.

This approval makes HASA one of the first HIEs in the nation to earn this distinction from CMS.

Qualified registries, entities given permission from CMS to aid doctors in aggregating and reporting clinical data, are one mechanism by which eligible providers can report data under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) — one of two payment tracks part of the Quality Payment Program.

Apart from qualified registries, eligible clinicians can also report data to CMS via the online attestation system, EHR technology, administrative claims, and quality clinical data registries.

With the healthcare industry’s push to transition from a volume- to value-based care, ensuring the availability of quality registries is a key step toward allowing for efficient reporting to CMS in compliance with MACRA and MIPS.

HASA can now aid providers both by securing consolidated patient health data from several different clinics and hospitals into a single EHR and submitting reports for eligible providers using a suite of reports.

Given the specific characteristics of most practices in Texas, HASA chose to develop reports best suited to aid eligible clinicians in fulfilling reporting requirements.

 “When researching the federal requirements, we learned that small practices, which are in fact, the majority of practices in Texas, were expected to be most negatively impacted by these new measures,” said Executive Director for HASA Gijs van Oort. Gijs van Oort. 

Extending its services to include assisting eligible providers in meeting reporting requirements was an organic decision for the health information exchange, which sees the time-consuming process of meeting reporting requirements as an unnecessary burden to providers who could more meaningfully be spending that time with patients.

 “Since we collect patient information and provide community reports, it made sense for us to develop a suite of services that can relieve the burden from the physician’s practice. Approval from CMS to report on behalf of a practice is a critical component of that,” van Oort said.

With health IT services and a suite of reports available to address the specific concerns of smaller practices, HASA hopes to address provider concerns regarding MACRA implementation and help these practices feel as prepared to meet requirements as their larger counterparts.

"Reporting providers’ quality measures to CMS at the end of the year has limited value unless we also offer tools and technology to help providers improve their quality of car,” van Oort added.

While assisting providers through meeting MACRA reporting requirements on their behalf will ease administrative burden, it will also improve overall patient care by allowing eligible providers to focus less attention on worrying over federal requirements and more time delivering care.

"We are building additional support to assist providers in improving patient health outcomes,” said Medical Advisor to HASA Vince Fonseca, MD.  “This also results in more favorable outcome for the provider under the new CMS’ MACRA program."

Meaningful use requirements proved a struggle for eligible providers in the past, and healthcare organizations and policymakers alike are eager to make the transition to MACRA as smooth as possible to avoid issues similar to the payment penalties of years past.

Helping providers streamline health data exchange across the care continuum remains the Texas HIE’s  primary goal.

“We integrate our analytics, care coordination and patient-portal technologies to easily fit into a physician’s office workflow for managing quality measures,” said HASA Information Office Phil Beckett. “We are in the final stages of development and the program is slated to be available to clinicians in the late Spring.” 

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