The healthcare industry is hard at work reviewing recent significant regulatory developments from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. We can be certain that elements of these proposals will change when the final versions come out, but nonetheless, there are some big ideas to process in each of them. We’re in the midst of a 60-day public comment period. Here’s a summary of the big three proposed rules from Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC): 1. CMS: Definitions of Meaningful Use – Changes to Stage 3 We anticipate CMS will finalize this rule in August or September. It focuses heavily on interoperability, laying the groundwork for a focus on quality and outcomes-based payment models. It proposes an option in 2017 of moving to Stage 2 […]

Many providers are finishing up their 2014 attestation period for Meaningful Use, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) incentive program for successful use of electronic health record (EHR) technology. Several changes in the regulations in 2014 have prompted questions. Using information available today, I’ve answered some of the most frequently-asked questions here: Q. Do we need to attest several times throughout 2015, or do we attest only one time after the end of 2015? As of today, if you’ve attested for Meaningful Use before, you only need to attest once. You will demonstrate for all of 2015 and attest before February 29, 2016.  (Exception: people who have never demonstrated before will have a 90-day demonstration period.) However, on January 29, 2015, the Chief Medical Officer of CMS issued a significant communication about some possible future adjustments to the Meaningful […]

Patient engagement is essential to improving care, but it can be a tough climb. For example, U.S. clients often note the most challenging government incentive measures are the ones that require patient response. Health First (Brevard County, Florida, U.S.A.) recognized the importance of genuine patient engagement, including millions of dollars in potential Meaningful Use incentives. Below, Health First shares how – within just a few short weeks – it achieved 52.6% of patients with online access and encouraged 6.8% of patients to view information electronically. Here are some of the successful strategies from Health First Vice President of Enterprise Applications/Informatics and Chief Nursing Informatics Officer Karie Ryan, RN, MS, BSN: 1. Remember that implementation is just a first step. During the summer of 2014, Health First implemented Allscripts FollowMyHealth® patient portal (and rebranded it HFConnect). But just building a portal […]

The popularity of a recent blog post, 6 tips for achieving Meaningful Use Stage 2, shows there’s a lot of interest in real-world experience and advice on this topic. Physicians’ Alliance, Ltd. (Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.A) just completed a whopping 61 Meaningful Use Stage 2 attestations in the third quarter of 2014. We learned more about their experience from IT Director Barbara Eberly, Physician Practice Liaison Nancy Snavely and Quality Initiatives Coordinator Vicky Martell. Much of their sage advice echoed that from fellow Allscripts TouchWorks® EHR and FollowMyHealth® user Coastal Carolina Health Care, and they had a few additional tips to share: 1. Physicians need to champion the portal Barbara Eberly: When we launched FollowMyHealth, we started with the usual tactics: bulk invitations, posters, temporary employees who enroll patients. But it still didn’t get us where we wanted to be. Reports showed […]

According to recent quality reports of 220 Accountable Care Organizations participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), Coastal Carolina Quality Care ranked third overall and second in care coordination. This ACO and its associated physician practice, Coastal Carolina Health Care (CCHC), use Allscripts TouchWorks® EHR and FollowMyHealth®. We recently interviewed CCHC Chief Executive Officer Stephen Nuckolls and Associate Administrator Carrie Hagan about their success with MSSP and the Meaningful Use incentive program. For 2014 four providers attested for Stage 1, and 38 providers attested for Stage 2. What’s the secret to their success? Nuckolls and Hagan share these six tips for achieving Meaningful Use Stage 2: 1. Allow plenty of time Carrie Hagan: “We started the implementation process back in November of 2013, working towards attesting in the second quarter of 2014…We wanted that intense focus for a longer […]

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Global Healthcare Megatrends: Clinical challenges

  • Toby C. Samo, MD, FACP
  • 04/17/2014

There are more than 7 billion people on the planet today. Our growing global population has triggered some of the biggest healthcare challenges we’ll ever face. Listening to clients in Australia, Canada, Singapore, United Kingdom and United States, I believe many of these issues are universal. This post is the first of a five-part series that explores the clinical, population health, financial, regulatory and technical challenges we share as a global healthcare community. Caring for more patients than ever before Worldwide healthcare providers are seeing more patients than ever before. In part, because we’re living longer. In developed nations, there has been a huge increase in life expectancy over the last 50 years, and experts believe the trend will continue. For example, U.S. citizens had a life expectancy of 68.2 years in 1950, which jumped to 76.6 years in 2000, […]

Does your organization use the calendar year as its Meaningful Use (MU) attestation period? That means your reporting year is drawing to a close in just a few weeks. Auditors require a time-stamped date on several items that you must complete during the reporting period.  Not doing it before December 31 may put your organization at risk of failing a potential audit of its 2013 attestation. If you haven’t already done so, here are six things you should do before December 31:  1. Complete a HIPAA Security Risk Assessment.   Not completing this task is the number one reason organizations receive audit failure notice. 2. Take a screenshot of the EHR version number. To record which version you are closing the year out with. 3.  Record transmissions of clinical data and results. Some menu measures only require an attempted transmission […]

You can’t prevent a Meaningful Use audit. It’s one way Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) follows up on Meaningful Use (MU) incentive payments and confirms that providers are doing the right thing for patients. But you can be prepared for an audit if you take a few simple steps before and during your attestation period. Before you receive the notice, you can: 1.  Monitor emails for notification – The 14-day clock starts ticking the moment the email arrives from the CMS auditor, Figliozzi & Co.  You don’t want it sitting undiscovered in a physician’s inbox. Consider creating an email rule for accounts involved with the attestation to catch these notices early. 2. Record EHR identification numbers – Record the CMS EHR certification ID and Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) numbers on your MU attestation application.  Auditors often […]

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) conducts audits to follow up on Meaningful Use (MU) incentive payments.  These audits can intimidate providers, even ones that have meticulous reporting habits. Soundview Medical Associates, a 22-physician, multi-specialty practice in Connecticut, faced two consecutive MU audits for 2011 and 2012. The responsibility for completing them fell to the organization’s only IT person and executive director, Eileen Smith. In this video, Eileen Smith describes how Soundview Medical Associates successfully responded to two Meaningful Use audits.   Keep calm and respond to CMS Upon receiving the first audit notice in the spring of 2013, Eileen reacted the way many providers might, “What did I do wrong?” The answer: probably nothing. Some audits are targeted, but many are random. It’s an opportunity for the government to exercise due diligence over its investments in incentive […]

On Wednesday we officially opened our annual client conference, ACE 13. There are about 3,000 Allscripts clients gathered in Chicago to exchange best practices through more than 400 educational sessions, user group meetings and special events. It’s my first ACE, and it’s off to a great start. People are excited to connect, collaborate and share ideas. In the opening session, I talked about what Allscripts and our clients are doing to lead the transformation in healthcare IT. Client insights have helped create our vision. Sharing our roadmap for the healthcare IT journey I’ve been talking with hundreds of clients in my first eight months as CEO. These conversations are shaping our path to better health care for all. Attesting to Meaningful Use – For many of us, the journey began with government incentives, such as ARRA and Meaningful Use. Looking […]