D.C. Report: Electronic Medical Documentation Pilot, Patient Safety Initiative, HIEs On The Rise

Dec. 27, 2011
CMS to Begin Electronic Medical Documentation Pilot The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin the first phase of a pilot that will

CMS to Begin Electronic Medical Documentation Pilot
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin the first phase of a pilot that will allow providers to submit medical documentation to Review Contractors electronically. Dubbed the Electronic Submission of Medical Documentation (esMD), the pilot was launched to measure, prevent, identify and correct improper payments made through Medicare and Medicaid. In esMD Phase 1, providers will have the option to respond to requests for medical documentation using CONNECT-compatible gateways. Review Contractors will then be able to more easily root out improper payments. In Phase 2, scheduled for 2012, Review Contractors will send electronic documentation requests to providers when their clams are selected for review. For a graphic describing the process, please click here (.pdf).

Patient Safety Initiative Reaches Goal of 2,000 Hospital Partners
Partnership for Patients, an HHS-led initiative to save 60,000 lives and $35 billion over three years by reducing medical errors by 40 percent and readmission rates by 20 percent reached a milestone this week. According to officials, HHS has met its goal of 2,000 hospitals. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "This level of participation, this early, is evidence of the strong support across the country for strengthening American healthcare for future generations by improving it; not cutting it as some have proposed to do." Nearly $1 billion has been made available through the Affordable Care Act for this initiative through the Community-Based Care Transitions Program and the CMS Innovation Center. CHIME is a signatory to the Partnership Pledge; for more information, please click here.

Health Information Exchange On the Rise, But Adoption Slower for Public Sector HIEs
Two new reports out this week indicated that Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are growing throughout the country. The eHealth Initiative released results of their survey Thursday, finding that HIEs have increased 9% to 255 since 2010. Among some of the main findings, eHI says that nearly half (113) will use Direct Project protocols and standards and that some 46 exchanges offer patients the ability to opt-out of data sharing, which compares to 13 last year. eHI urged HIEs to be active partners in helping hospitals and physicians with Meaningful Use requirements, Medicare Shared Savings Program rules and privacy recommendations. Hesitancy about moving forward until changes to the healthcare system are complete will only diminish growth, the report said.

Research firm KLAS also released a report this week, finding that the number of private exchanges had increased from 52 in 2010 to 161. Public exchanges grew from 37 to 67 over the same period. Researchers indicated that the slower growth in public HIEs may stem from regulatory uncertainty and long-term funding challenges. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has funded grants to states to establish HIEs, some of which are being deployed soon in Illinois, Maine, Oregon and other states. KLAS report author Mark Allphin told Government Health IT that in addition to government oversight, survey respondents had concerns over data integrity and having outside providers push data into physician's EHRs, which also contributed to the low adoption of public HIEs.

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