Industry Still Making Sense Of Federal E-Health Regs
Health care industry players are still sorting out the latest regulations on an up-to-$36 billion federal program to encourage doctors and hospitals to use electronic medical records.
Computerworld/Bloomberg Businessweek: "As part of its effort to encourage widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHR) systems, the federal government has eased the requirements that health care providers must meet if they want to receive reimbursements for such projects," dropping the number of quality metrics providers must track from 90 to 44. But a "lack of clarity" around the new rules has led one IT vendor, Medsphere Systems, to promise in its contracts that it will "deliver meaningful use, however the requirements turn out," according to one Medsphere client (Merian, 7/26).
Modern Healthcare: Another ripple is that the latest e-health regulations are not as generous with multicampus hospitals as their executives would like, a problem that "only an act of Congress can solve." The explanation: "The consensus among industry leaders for the aggrieved hospitals is that CMS rulemakers had a solid legal peg on which to hang their disappointing interpretation-that multicampus hospitals using one Medicare provider number are ineligible for the same level of federal EHR subsidy payments as similar organizations in which each hospital has its own Medicare provider number" (Conn, 7/26).
InformationWeek: Meanwhile, "Hospital executives aren't just worried about having their own organizations meet the federal government's meaningful use requirements; they're also concerned about their affiliated and owned doctor practices achieving the goals. In fact, many hospitals are assisting (or plan to help) doctors to get on board with e-health records even as those hospitals struggle with their own projects" (Kolbasuk McGee, 7/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.