Electronic Health Records

Policy & Regulation News

The Week Ahead in Health IT Interoperability: Oct. 26-Nov. 1

By Frank Irving

- A grassroots advocacy project highlights the week ahead in health IT interoperability. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has equipped its members with a way to push for a pause in the EHR Incentive Program’s Stage 3 implementation. AAFP notes that only 10 percent of physicians have attested to meaningful use Stage 2 under the program. On. Oct 23, AAFP released its Speak Out tool to help family physicians contact their congressional representatives to ask for a delay in Stage 3. “The meaningful use program has departed from its original goals and has devolved into a clunky and complicated process, undermined by interoperability, growing administrative burdens and unrealistic incentive requirements,” says the message to legislators. AAFP reports that nearly 2,000 of its members have already used the tool, which is available here.

The week of Oct. 26-Nov. 1 in health IT interoperability.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is pushing forward with meaningful use educational activities. If you missed CMS’ Oct. 8 webinar explaining the final rule for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs for Modified Stage 2 and Stage 3, you can access a recording of the presentation here. The material covered includes an overview of the final rule, requirements for 2015 through 2017 (Stage 2) and for 2018 and beyond (Stage 3), as well as information on how to participate during the remainder of 2015.

Also noteworthy this week:

What’s the ICD-10 code for “hit by a drone”? The ICD-10 transition seems to be proceeding fairly uneventfully, according to sources such as RelayHealth Financial, which reported having processed over 13 million institutional and physician claims valued at over $25 billion since the Oct. 1 crossover from ICD-9. But one doctor contends that the new code set is already out of date. Lawrence Adler, MD, of Beverly Hills, Calif., said in a letter to the Wall Street Journal that he recently treated a patient who had been struck by a drone: “Alas, there is no code for drone injury.” Adler quipped, “I hope to be retired by the time ICD-11 is in place.”

Policy committee looks into privacy activities. The Health IT Policy Committee’s Privacy & Security Workgroup meets on Oct. 26 starting at 2:00 p.m. ET. The agenda calls for discussion of state-focused activities in computable privacy. Lucia Savage and Peyton Isaac from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will present to the committee. You can join the web conference here.

WEDI convenes national meeting. The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) holds its annual conference Oct. 26-29 in Reston, Va., outside Washington. After opening sessions from former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Marshfield Clinic CEO Susan Turney, breakout sessions will discuss HL7’s emerging FHIR standards, consumer healthcare connectivity and the drive toward health information exchange adoption, among other topics.

Ryan move would leave Ways and Means chair open. Maneuvering on Capitol Hill will likely have a cascading effect on health policy. An Oct. 29 vote is scheduled to determine the next Speaker of the House. Outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has announced he will retire on Oct. 30. His successor is expected to be Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who late last week announced his intention to seek the speaker role. If elected, Ryan would relinquish chairmanship of the influential House Ways and Means Committee. The Washington Post reports that Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) are the most probable candidates to take over for Ryan as the Ways and Means chair. Brady currently heads up the panel’s health subcommittee. Ways and Means oversees tax policy and entitlement programs such as Medicare.


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