“The goal is 'report once,' that has become our mantra,” said Dr. Kate Goodrich, acting director the CMS quality measurement and health assessment group, explaining how the CMS is “very close” to aligning electronic clinical quality measures required for its meaningful use, Physician Quality Reporting System and other improvement programs so only one data submission can be used for multiple purposes.
Chris Stahlecker, director of the CMS administrative simplification group, said the same alignment of forces is occurring on the business side as well.
“The point of convergence is ahead,” she said, referring to the coming alignment of administrative requirements and practices between the CMS, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, vendors, payers and providers.
“Patients want to be able to see their data, and why not?” Franey said. “They should have a right to see this information.”
She added that, as privacy and security are enhanced, so will the public's trust and confidence in health information technology and information exchange.
The CMS message seemed well received and even bad news was accepted politely without hostile outbursts.
This included when Stahlecker declared that the federal government intends to move ahead with adopting the ICD-10 set of diagnostic codes next year despite opposition "I want to reiterate that Oct. 1, 2014 date is firm," she said. And it also included when Elizabeth Holland, director of the CMS HIT Initiatives Group, delivered less than welcome news on the meaningful use front.
Holland began by noting the successes of the electronic health record payment incentive program which include high levels of participation and the distribution of billions of dollars to hospitals and healthcare providers who have attested to meeting the program's meaningful use requirements.
“We're paying a lot of money,” she said. “We'll have another big batch going out soon.”
But then she told how, as of Jan. 1, the CMS had moved from a policy of post-payment audits to pre-payment audits—meaning that providers need to respond to auditor inquiries if they want to be paid.
This was followed by discussion of how the 2% Medicare budget cuts called for under the sequestration process will result in a corresponding reduction in meaningful-use payments processed after April 1.