Washington Debrief: CHIME Participates in WH Precision Medicine Event; 2016 MU Spec Sheets are Out

March 7, 2016
Recently, CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell participated in The White House Precision Medicine Initiative Summit. During the event, several speakers highlighted progress that’s been made during the first year of the PMI. President Obama spoke about the power of information sharing.


CHIME Partnership with OpenNotes Garners Attention from the White House

Key Takeaways: CHIME Announces Partnership with OpenNotes.

Why it Matters: On Thursday, February 25, CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell, participated in The White House Precision Medicine Initiative Summit. During the event, several speakers highlighted progress that’s been made during the first year of the PMI. President Obama spoke about the power of information sharing.

For its part, CHIME unveiled a new partnership with OpenNotes, which part of a number of efforts announced at the event and detailed in a White House fact sheet.  Improving patient access to clinical notes will help spur patient engagement and can be a vital part of advancing more personalized care as envisioned by President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative. Through the partnership, CHIME will work to raise awareness of OpenNotes and other patient-facing technologies. Currently, roughly 5 million patients have access to clinical notes thanks to OpenNotes. Through this collaboration, CHIME aims to help OpenNotes reach its goal of expanding to 50 million patients in 3 years.

Federal Affairs:

Meaningful Use Updates

Key Takeaways: CMS Pumps out more FAQs, hardship exemption guidance, and spec sheets you’ve been waiting for!  Go here for latest soup to nuts slide deck from CMS on all things Meaningful Use, including registry information.

Why it Matters: CMS continues to release additional guidance for both the 2015 and 2016 program years.


Reminder: The last day to attest for the 2015 Meaningful Use Program Year is Friday, March 11, 11:59 p.m., ET.  Having trouble?  Contact Mari Savickis, CHIME’s Vice President of Federal Affairs for assistance.


Wondering whether you can still apply for a hardship as late as July 1?  You can. While the law passed late in 2015 affords providers the ability to apply for a hardship in a more streamlined manner, CMS conceded you still have the option of filing as late as July 1.  The process, including the application for filing later remains the same. CHIME’s MU Hardship Fact Sheet has been updated to reflect this and the new FAQ that notes that applying for a hardship does not preclude you from being permitted to attest and receive incentives. 

Public Health FAQs

New FAQs:

Updated FAQs:

2016 Specifications Sheets

Nominations Sought for Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force – March 9 Deadline

Key Takeaway: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the formation of a new Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force as called for in the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015. Nominations must be submitted by March 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Why It Matters:  the task force will build on our work to keep the nation’s healthcare systems secure and provide information to improve preparedness for cybersecurity threats affecting the healthcare industry.

HHS has invited healthcare partners to submit nominations for membership on the task force, suggesting the following qualifications:

  • Service in a position of influence in an organization that is representative of a component of the broad healthcare and public health sector
  • Experience in dealing with technical, administrative, management, and/or legal aspects of health information security
  • Knowledge of major health information security policies, best practices, organizations, and trends
  • Ability to participate actively in task force meetings and contribute to task force products (expected to be 4 in-person meetings and 8 teleconferences, in addition to time reviewing and contributing to documents)

Nominees may represent any aspect of the healthcare system, including but not limited to:

  • Health plans, health care clearinghouses, or health care providers
  • Advocates for patients or consumers
  • Pharmacists
  • Developers or vendors of health information technology
  • Laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturers

Nominations will be accepted at [email protected] until 5:00 p.m. ET, March 9, 2016. 

HHS Unveils a Number of New Policy Initiatives

Key Takeaways: At HIMSS16, HHS announced a plethora of items of interest to CHIME members and friends.

Why it Matters:  HHS released a number of new policy initiatives last week on topics ranging from interoperability, HIE funding, cybersecurity and quality measurement.

We have the full line up below….

  • Interoperability Pledge – HHS announces industry partners – including CHIME – that pledged to increase information sharing.
  • Cybersecurity task force – Formal announcement of task force stemming from the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015.
  • ONC app challenge launch – ONC is giving awarding $625,000 for “strategic investment to connect and accelerate the industry’s use of FHIR®-based APIs for consumers and providers.”
  • ONC Report to Congress on data blocking – We’ll cut to the chase for you – HHS concludes, “Significant challenges continue to limit the widespread and effective sharing of electronic health information across the health care continuum.”
  • CMS letter to state Medicaid directors – The agency announced funding at the 90 percent matching rate for state expenditures on activities to promote HIE and encourage the adoption of certified EHRs by certain Medicaid providers.

From HIPAA Land

Key Takeaway: ONC and OCR have been busy churning out new guidance to clarify certain privacy and security policies. 

Why it Matters: Providers and others continue to clamor for more details on what is expected of them from a compliance standpoint. ONC published several items in a 4-part blog series they are calling “The Real HIPAA.”  OCR also published a crosswalk between the security rule and the NIST cybersecurity framework.  The crosswalk also includes mappings to other commonly used security frameworks.

Congressional Affairs:

Mobile Medical Applications Subject of House Hearing

Key Takeaway: Last week, a congressional hearing examined the development of mobile applications and wearable technologies for monitoring, diagnosing, and tracking disease and medical conditions.

Why It Matters: The hearing, entitled “Smart Health: Empowering the Future of Mobile Apps,” outlined the potential healthcare apps to revolutionize medicine and help empower users to be active participants their healthcare. Witnesses also highlighted a number of barriers are hindering some apps from being used more broadly including the current regulatory landscape, data security and privacy, and reimbursement issues.

The Committee on Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology heard from witnesses about the need to update the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the myriad of other outdated regulations and reimbursement formulas hindering greater integration of mobile applications into healthcare delivery.