Addressing the nation's healthcare executives, the head of the CMS highlighted common goals between the agency and the nation's hospitals before outlining the federal healthcare agency's top priorities.
“All of our efforts—whether they're ACOs, bundled payments, hospital value-based purchasing, or even simple data dissemination—need to be done so thoughtfully, over a reasonable period of time, and in constant dialogue with each of you and many others who are private and public partners to us,” acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner told attendees at the American Hospital Association's annual meeting at the Washington Hilton. She then cited data as one area where both hospitals and the CMS can benefit.
“We process more than 1.5 billion claims annually. This information can guide our decisions and help to lower cost,” Tavenner said. “So we're now sharing this data with you all—with the appropriate security and privacy protections, I might add. But you need to have access to this data if you're going to work together with us.”
Tavenner, a former HCA official and leader of Virginia's Health and Human Resources Department, said she recently read the AHA's response to the CMS regarding the proposed Stage 2 rule for meaningful-use of health information technology under the federal incentive program. She drew laughter from the audience when she thanked the organization for all 64 pages. “So obviously we have a lot of work to do over meaningful use's next stage,” Tavenner said.
In her closing comments, Tavenner shared the CMS' top 10 priorities that she and her staff identified during the first all-staff meeting under her direction this past January. These include the state health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion; the dual-eligible population; fraud and abuse; ensuring quality in Medicare Advantage; expansion of the durable medical-equipment competitive-bidding process; cost and efficiency (in which she offered administrative simplification as one example); data transparency; quality; and innovation.