CMS’ Proposed Rule Details Push for Health IT Use Among ACOs

December 2, 2014 in News

On Monday, CMS released a proposed rule that includes provisions designed to increase health IT use among Medicare Shared Savings Program participants EHR Intelligence reports (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 12/2).

The health IT provisions are part of proposed changes to MSSP that are designed to lower the initial risk of creating an accountable care organization and increase participation in the program. Specifically, CMS has proposed delaying penalties for some MSSP participants for three years (Evans, Modern Healthcare, 12/1).

Health IT Provision Details

Under the proposed rule, participating ACOs would “have flexibility to use telehealth services as they deem appropriate for their efforts to improve care and avoid unnecessary costs.” Specifically, the proposed rule would allow CMS to waive certain telemedicine rules, such as requirements that patients be located in rural areas, if deemed appropriate (Allen/Pittman, Politico Pro, 12/1).

In addition, the proposal would require ACOs to describe how they plan to “encourage and promote” the use of health IT tools to improve care coordination (Bowman, FierceHealthIT, 12/2). The proposed rule notes that such tools could include:

  • Electronic health records;
  • Telehealth services, including remote patient monitoring;
  • Electronic health information exchange; and
  • Other electronic tools designed to engage patients in their care.

CMS said, “We continue to believe that ACOs should coordinate care between all types of providers and across all services, and that the secure, electronic exchange of health information across all providers in a community is of the utmost importance for both effective care coordination activities and the success of the Shared Savings Program” (EHR Intelligence, 12/2).

CMS is accepting comments on the proposed rule until Feb. 6 (CMS Factsheet, 12/1).


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