Electronic Health Records

Policy & Regulation News

The Week Ahead in Health IT Interoperability: Nov. 23-29

CMS has extended the deadline for submitting a request for informal review of 2016 negative payment adjustments based on 2014 PQRS reporting.

By Frank Irving

- It’s a short week ahead for health IT interoperability as we pause to appreciate the unsung heroes on the caregiving frontlines and all who support them behind the scenes. With many family members, friends and professional colleagues serving healthcare — an industry that never takes a break and provides help for all in need — HealthITInteroperability.com extends a heartfelt “thank you.”

The week on Nov. 23-29 in health IT interoperability.

Here’s a look at what’s happening this week.

Deadline extended for PQRS payment adjustment review. If you believe you have been incorrectly assessed a negative payment adjustment for the 2016 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), you have through Dec. 11 to submit a request for an informal review. The  previous deadline had been set for Nov. 23. The 2016 adjustment applies to individual eligible professionals, Comprehensive Primary Care practice sites and group practices participating in the PQRS group reporting option, including accountable care organizations that did not satisfactorily report PQRS in 2014. Requests for review must be submitted electronically here. All decisions will be final, with no further review, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

All quiet on the advisory front. The Health IT Policy Committee’s Privacy and Security Workgroup meeting scheduled for Nov. 23 has been cancelled. The group makes recommendations to ensure that information captured and exchanged electronically is protected and shared in a manner consistent with consumer needs and expectations. The federal health IT advisory panels swing back into action on Nov. 30 with a joint meeting of the Policy and Standards Committees to review the work of the API Task Force. That panel makes recommendations to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT on how to enable consumers to use API technology to access patient data while ensuring appropriate privacy and security protection.

Cybersecurity Framework comments due. Public comments are due Nov. 30 on the draft Healthcare Sector Cybersecurity Framework Implementation Guide, which was initially introduced on Nov. 3, according to the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST). The draft guidance explains how a healthcare organization can implement a control framework-based cybersecurity program and how this approach supports compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule. HITRUST says its framework harmonizes requirements of existing federal, third-party and government standards and regulations. The draft implementation guide is available here. Access the public comment form here (auto-download). Comments should be emailed to comments@hitrustalliance.net before 8:00 p.m. EST on Nov. 30.

Rocky road anticipated for ACA. While healthcare CIOs continue to build or contract for IT infrastructure to support value-based care and population health, some observers see signs of trouble for the foundational Affordable Care Act (ACA). For example, The Fiscal Times reports a confluence of recent developments that could be problematic: administration enrollment projections are down for the coming year; estimated premiums and out-of-pocket costs are rising; nearly half of the insurance co-ops associated with ACA are going out of business; and UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, has threatened to withdraw from the government marketplaces in 2017.




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