BEI HIT Blog
Reuters, November 8, 2012
BEI Commentary: This is a non-HIT/HIT article. You can see from this that the medical industry is not the only one that has regulatory oversight that requires encryption and other protections. Good computer security is just a fact of life in an increasingly networked world.
Staffers at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission failed to encrypt some of their computers containing highly sensitive information from stock exchanges, leaving the data vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to people familiar with the matter.
While the computers were unprotected, there was no evidence that hacking or spying on the SEC’s computers took place, these people said.
The computers and other electronic devices in question belonged to a handful of employees in an office within the SEC’s Trading and Markets Division. That office is responsible for making sure exchanges follow certain guidelines to protect the markets from potential cyber threats and systems problems, one of those people said. Read More
EMR & HIPAA Newsletter, November 5, 2011
According to the 2013 Medicare Final Rule released last week, there are new ways to avoid future payment adjustments under the MIPPA ePrescribing rule for those who have not already taken the necessary steps to avoid them: 1) The exemption request period has been reopened and 2) meaningful use will satisfy the ePrescribing requirements according to specific timetables.
1) CMS is offering a second chance to physicians who missed the June 30 deadline for requesting an exemption to the 2013 ePrescribing penalty (1.5%) under the original 4 categories. Between November 1, 2012 and January 31, 2013, physicians can go to the Quality Reporting Communication Support Page and request an exemption based on one of the following justifications: Read More
Healthcare IT News, October 25, 2012
BEI Commentary: CMS has announced the CQMs for 2014 – a change compared to what is being reported today.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published the final 2014 clinical quality measures (CQMs) for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals seeking to attest for meaningful use.
Beginning in 2014, the reporting of clinical quality measures will change for all providers. Electronic health record (EHR) technology that has been certified to the 2014 standards and capabilities will contain new CQM criteria. Read More
New York Times, Octobe 8, 2012
BEI Commentary: A very interesting article about how some physicians are using social media. Obviously there are a lot of issues to work out, but it looks like these technologies can be put to good use in working with patients.
The teenager’s cellphone buzzes. Her doctor, Natasha Burgert, is texting her: “Better morning with this medication?”
Another teenager opens his phone. “Everything is great,” reads Dr. Burgert’s discreet text. “Go ahead with the plan we discussed. Please reply so I know you received.”
And on the morning of college entrance exams, a teenager who suffers from a roiling stomach reads Dr. Burgert’s texted greeting: “Prepared. Focused. Calm. Your body is healthy and well. Good luck today.” Read More
Healthcare informatics, October 5, 2012
BEI Commentary: The Republicans want more bang for their buck! If Romney gets elected, physicians will really need to bring their “A” game.
Recently, House Republicans sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her to suspend the payments related to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Record (EHR) Meaningful Use Incentive program. The House republicans say HHS is “squandering taxpayer dollars by asking little of providers in return for incentive payments.”
According to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger (R-CA), and Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), the Stage 2 meaningful use rules are in some ways weaker than the proposed Stage 1 regulations. The result, they say, will be a “less efficient system.” Read More
New York Times, September 25, 2012
BEI Commentary: Please make sure you are billing the correct amount – not too much and not too little.
The Obama administration has issued a strong and much-needed warning to hospitals and doctors about the fraudulent use of electronic medical records to illegally inflate their billings to Medicare. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and the health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, cited “troubling indications” that some providers are billing for services never provided and vowed to prosecute. They sent a letter to five major hospital trade associations on Monday, two days after an article in The Times described in detail how greater use of electronic records might be making it easier for hospitals and doctors to submit erroneous payment claims. Read more
New York Times, September 21, 2012
BEI Commentary: Please make sure you are not using your EHR to overbill. It looks like some hospitals, in search of additional revenue, are doing just that. I’m sure that CmS and payers will be looking for this in the data analytical tools that are coming online, and some people will have fines and fraud charges to deal with.
When the federal government began providing billions of dollars in incentives to push hospitals and physicians to use electronic medical and billing records, the goal was not only to improve efficiency and patient safety, but also to reduce health care costs.
But, in reality, the move to electronic health records may be contributing to billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers and patients by making it easier for hospitals and physicians to bill more for their services, whether or not they provide additional care. Read More
Fierce HealthIT, September 20, 2012
BEI Commentary: This is perhaps one of the most important items I have read about EHRs in the past few years. When searching for an EHR, we advise our clients that above all other things, select an EHR that is easy to use and easy to learn. The logic is rather simple: physicians, especially those seeing large volumes of patients, must be able to document encounters efficiently and effectively, regardless of whether they are using paper or an EHR. If the EHR is cumbersome to use – forget it. If EHRs were easy to rate in the usability category, then at least from our point of view, EHR selection would be pretty straightforward. However, there is no easy way to quantify usability, and there is no industry resource that provides this information. The Institute of Medicine is recommending that this all come to an end, and serious effort be devoted to rating usabililty. This is perhaps the most telling sentence in the report: “After a decade of development and experience, EHRs and other health IT products have not advanced sufficiently; nor have they been adopted widely and enthusiastically, in step with other consumer products such as smartphones and iPads.” Let’s hope that these ratings come out sooner, rather than later. Vendors will be forced to make their products more usable, which will be better for the physicians and patients alike.
The world of electronic health records needs to open itself up to critical comparisons and earnest user evaluation if it wants to avoid formal regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, according to a discussion paper released this month by the Institute of Medicine.
Not only is there nowhere for health IT users to share publicly their experiences with different products, but vendors often prohibit users from sharing screenshots or otherwise publicly discussing EHR problems, notes the paper, “Comparative User Experiences of Health IT Products: How User Experiences Would Be Reported and Used.” Read More
Fierce EMR, July 23, 2012
BEI Commentary: CMS is starting to audit providers on Meaningful Use. Make sure you have your documentation in hand!
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has quietly begun to audit providers who have received payments under the EHR incentive program, according to an alert from the law firm Ober Kaler.
The Garden City, N.Y.-based accounting firm Figliozzi and Company, acting on behalf of CMS, has started to send letters to providers requesting them to submit documentation to support their attestation that they have met the Meaningful Use requirements. According to Ober Kaler, the auditor is asking for four types of information: Read More
EHR Intelligence, July 12, 2012
BEI Commentary: Here are some good tips on preparing to register for the EHR Incentive program. Note that CMS can conduct an audit for up to six years after payment is received.
Registering for EHR incentives from CMS and logging into the attestation portal may appear to be basic on the surface, but can require more work than some eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals realize. To save time during the registration process, it will help to have the information below readily available. Read More