HIMSS is pleased that the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have published their proposed rule for Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program Stage 2 (Meaningful Use Stage 2); the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is expected to publish the associated Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria tomorrow. These are significant steps forward in transforming healthcare in the United States of America.
For many years now, HIMSS has championed the best use of information technology and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Since the inception of the HITECH provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), HIMSS has equipped stakeholders for increasingly sophisticated meaningful use of health information. To help providers and patients improve care delivery and health outcomes for all Americans, HIMSS members strongly encourage the federal government to continue promoting the adoption of EHRs through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program in support of the standards-based collection, analysis, and exchange of health data in a safe and secure environment.
The release of these regulations during the HIMSS12 Annual Conference and Exhibition gives attendees the opportunity to engage directly with CMS and ONC officials about the new rule. Both CMS and ONC have hosted interactive town hall sessions, and more than 80 HIMSS12 workshops, symposia, and general education sessions have focused on meaningful use. Using social media and HIMSS.org, HIMSS staff have been posting – within hours – key takeaways from policymakers' remarks. HIMSS will be reviewing the proposed rule and posting summaries and analyses in the coming days. Stay tuned to HIMSS' Meaningful Use OneSource, where we expect to post substantive analyses beginning next week.
The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs have already had an enormous impact on EHR adoption rates. Forty-three states have started their Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs; over 190,000 Eligible Professionals (EPs) and Eligible Hospitals (EHs) have registered for the Medicare and/or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs; and more than $3 billion has been paid in incentive payments to EPs, EHs, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) across the country.
New HIMSS Analytics data, reported in the December 2011Summary of Meaningful Use Readiness, indicates that seven segments of hospitals show increased capability to achieve Stage 1 of meaningful use. The hospitals in these seven categories typically demonstrate IT adoption that outpaces their peers, a segment that also includes hospitals at Stage 6 or Stage 7 on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM). Tremendous progress has been made toward improved patient care and efficiencies offered by health IT, and HIMSS is excited to work with our members to move into this next phase of transforming healthcare.
To give providers and vendors adequate time to meet the new requirements, release of the proposed regulations at this juncture meets a recommendation of HIMSS and other organizations that the final rule be released at least 18 months prior to enactment.
HIMSS looks forward to engaging our members and colleagues in the development of HIMSS Board of Directors-approved responses to the proposed regulations that provide practical, real world observations and recommendations.