AHA: CMS Should Create Public Health EHR Readiness Database
June 13, 2014 in News
On Thursday, the American Hospital Association sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office placing its support behind a proposal to open up data on the of public health agencies and registries to receive data from health care providers under the meaningful use program, EHR Intelligence reports (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 6/13).
Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
In a notice released last month, CMS explained its plans to assess public health agencies’ readiness for the Stage 2 reporting requirements and to create a database to aid health care providers if such agencies are unprepared. However, CMS said that “no database has been built” at the time.
Public reporting requirements for Stage 1 of the meaningful use program are optional and aim to ensure that providers’ certified EHR technology has the ability to send information to public health agencies and registries. However, Stage 2 makes such electronic data transmission mandatory (iHealthBeat, 5/19).
AHA Letter Details
In the letter, AHA Senior Vice President of Public Policy Analysis Development Linda Fishman writes that her association agrees with CMS that the proposed data release will help reduce the burdens on providers and that it could play a “central” and “crucial” role in the meaningful use program (EHR Intelligence, 6/13).
However, AHA wrote that although CMS had confirmed its plans to create the database, it “has yet to follow through” with the plan (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 6/13). It added that CMS “should expedite its website development to support the goals of efficient electronic reporting to public health agencies and registries,” noting, “Time is of the essence, as some hospitals already are attempting to meet the Stage 2″ requirements (AHA letter, 6/12).