Recovery Room 3/28/10

There has been much to report about this month. First, everyone is getting back to business after this year’s HIMSS conference in Atlanta at the beginning of the month. The four day extravaganza drew nearly 28,000 attendees and over 900 companies exhibiting their wares. If you weren’t up to a few miles a day you didn’t see much. But if you were up to it, you weren’t disappointed. And the keynote speakers incorporated something for everyone, Sprint Nextel Corp. CEO Dan Hesse, CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, pilot “Sully” Sullenberger, and of course ONC David Blumenthal who said it was his first time at the conference.

On the rules front, the comment period for the current ONC IFR and CMS NPRM came to an end on March 15th. We are expecting final rules issued in the near future. On March 3rd the day before Blumenthal took the stage at HIMSS, the ONC released a NPRM for the Establishment of Certification Programs for Health Information Technology. Read our post for the details on the NPRM. This week an Interim Final Rule on ePrescribing of controlled substances was issued from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and includes a 60 day comment period. The ONC, CMS, AHRQ and other HHS staff have worked closely with the DEA to develop the policies in the IFR.

March 15th, Secretary Sebelius announced an additional $162 million in awards to help states facilitate HIE and Health IT through the State HIE Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program. These additional awards now make the total HIE grants $547,703,438. Fifty-six states, eligible territories, and qualified State Designated Entities (SDE) have received awards. Awardees are responsible for increasing connectivity and enabling patient-centric information flow to improve the quality and efficiency of care.

The Policy and Standards committees along with all of their workgroups met this month. All workgroup meetings are now open to the public. For a current schedule of all the committee and workgroup meetings visit the Committee calendar page. Through the calendar you can obtain the agendas, presentations, and transcripts of any of the meetings.

In addition to all the workgroup updates at the Policy meeting, the collaborative CMS and ONC guidance for the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) was discussed. The presentation clarified the permission of labs to electronically exchange laboratory data and addressed the current confusion of the data and health IT. For more read Brian Ahier’s summary of the meeting.

The Standards Committee met last week and al of the workgroups presented update along with a presentation on the NPRM for Certification Programs. Read John Halamka’s recap of the meeting for more details.

Have a good week.