HIMSS EHR Association Urges CMS To Change Data Submission Rules

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's Electronic Health Record Association is seeking an adjustment to CMS' proposal requiring patient-level data in pilot tests of electronic submissions of clinical quality measures, Becker's Hospital Review reports (Rodak, Becker's Hospital Review, 9/1).

The association made the request in response to the proposed rules for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System for fiscal year 2012 (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 8/31).

Under the proposed rules, health care providers would be required to submit patient-level data in a pilot program designed to test electronic submissions of clinical quality measures. Currently, health care providers are required to electronically report only summary data (CMIO, 8/31).

According to the HIMSS EHR Association, the proposed rules would impose too much of a burden on health care providers.

Mark Segal -- a member of the association's executive committee and a past vice chair, and vice president of government and industry affairs at GE Healthcare IT -- said that "we have serious concerns about the complexity and overhead of reporting discrete patient-level data for quality measures, rather than summary data, as is the case today" (Healthcare IT News, 8/31).

Support for Other Rules

Meanwhile, the association expressed support for CMS' proposal to align the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System with the electronic health record incentive program's quality measures and reporting (Pulley, "Health IT Update," NextGov, 9/1).

The PQRS initiative was launched in 2007 and formerly was known as the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative. It provides incentives to physicians participating in Medicare who report certain quality measures. Meanwhile, the 2009 federal stimulus package provides Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems (iHealthBeat, 7/7).

The association also expressed support for continuing how health care providers attest that their EHR systems meet certain quality measure reporting rules ("Health IT Update," NextGov, 9/1).

Leigh Burchell -- chair of the association's public policy work group and vice president of government affairs at Allscripts -- said, "In the current environment, providers must understand and comply with several new programs, so it's important that elements that are proven and operational be maintained in order to minimize uncertainty and maximize the value of prior technology investments" (CMIO, 8/31).

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