CMS changes name of the EHR Incentive Program and Advancing Care Information Performance Category

In late April, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced proposed rule changes directly aimed at empowering patients and reducing administrative burden for physicians. These changes are tied to CMS’s ongoing commitment to interoperability, patient data access and system-wide health information exchange (HIE).

The meaningful use EHR Incentive Programs will now be known as “Promoting Interoperability”, and the Merit-based Incentive Payment Program (MIPS) Advancing Care Information performance category will be known as the “Promoting Interoperability performance category” to maintain alignment across both programs.

The goal is to put patients first so they may access high quality care, benefit from more choices and enjoy better outcomes. In addition, the proposed rule prioritizes price transparency and interoperability while also allowing hospitals greater flexibility. CMS is updating its guidelines to specifically require hospitals to post their standard charges. CMS is seeking comment from the public on what price transparency information would be most useful and how best to help hospitals create patient-friendly interfaces. The goal is to make it easier to access relevant health care data and to compare providers.

As part of CMS’ commitment to reducing burden, it is proposing the removal of unnecessary, redundant, and process-driven quality measures from a number of quality reporting and pay-for-performance programs. A significant number of the measures acute care hospitals are currently required to report would be eliminated, and duplicative measures across the five hospital quality and value-based purchasing programs would be removed. This would remove a total of 19 measures from the programs and de-duplicate another 21 measures.

CMS is proposing other changes that reduce the number of hours providers spend on paperwork, so more time can be spent providing patient care. The elimination of 25 total measures across the 5 programs is estimated to reduce 2 million burden hours and save approximately $75 million.

The proposed rule reiterates the requirement for providers to use the 2015 edition of certified electronic health record technology in 2019 as part of demonstrating meaningful use to qualify for incentive payments and to avoid reductions to Medicare payments. Under Promoting Interoperability, updates to EHR and related technology includes the use of application programming interfaces, or APIs for patients to collect their health information from multiple providers, and to potentially incorporate all of their data into a single portal, application, program, or other software.

Just a reminder CMS reporting for the Quality Payment Programs can be simplified using the tools and resources of CTHealthLink. For more information on CTHealthLink, contact Matthew Katz, EVP/CEO of CSMS at mkatz@csms.org.

For a fact sheet on the proposed rule (CMS-1694-P), please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2018-Fact-sheets-items/2018-04-24.html.

To comment on the proposed ruling, CMS-1694-P, visit: www.regulations.gov no later than 5 p.m. on June 25, 2018. Follow the “Submit a comment instructions.”

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