Comments on both the ONC IFR and the CMS NPRM are starting to come in. For the most part, the NPRM comments have been from individuals on a specific point of the rules. None of the bigger organizations or vendors have weighed in yet. The HIT Policy Committee is scheduled to comment as they disagree with the decisions to leave out some of their recommended quality measures. The IFR comments are starting to come in and they are all over the map. There is a strong argument that the standards don’t go far enough for stage 1 and those in stage 2 should be moved up. Keep up to date on the comments at regulations.gov.
Still no word on who has been awarded the first round of Regional Extension Centers funding. ONC says they are behind on the announcement but that it will happen this month. The grants are slated to establish up to 70 extension centers that will provide technical assistance and resources to rural and safety net providers for adopting EHR systems. For more information on this program visit the ONC page.
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) conducted its annual National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. The survey of patient visits to office-based physicians collects information on use of EHR systems. In 2008 and 2009 the survey was conducted by both mail and in-person visits. The survey shows EHR adoption is increasing and the ONC is hopeful this will means more and quicker adoption with the upcoming incentives. Read about the survey and its results.
Joshua Seidman, acting director of the meaningful use division of ONC’s Office of Provider Adoption Support, spoke at last weeks eHealth Initiative Annual Conference. Along with the upcoming announcement of the awards for the HIT extension centers, the ONC plans to establish support for the centers through a Health IT Research Center. He also commented on ONC’s work on HIE infrastructure and how it is committed to building the workforce necessary to meet the country’s health IT needs.
Dr. Blumenthal spoke at a joint meeting of the Health IT Government Leaders, HIE and HIPAA summits last week. Speaking on providers qualifying for the incentive program, he wants to “stretch the healthcare community but not break it”. He also said that the administration wants to encourage the participation of physicians and hospitals in the program and prevent their dropping out once they have started. Comparing 2011 EHR adoption and the incentive program to boarding an escalator, he believes there will be an upward slope but just how quickly he can’t say.
And how about those Saints!
Have a good week.