CMS, ONC foretell aligned initiatives

By Tom Sullivan
12:52 PM

This is not going to be easy: ONC and CMS officials are talking about aligning incentives at some point in the future.

Might meaningful use Stage 3 be that convergence point?

An attendee representing a Kentucky regional extension center asked top ONC officials on Monday whether they are doing anything to tie a number of issues together, including meaningful use, ICD-10, accountable care, value-based payments, health information exchange.

“Yes, HHS is working to harmonize its various programs to create a more seamless and streamlined way to capture the info necessary for VBP and ACOs,” said national coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, referring to value-based payments and accountable care . “We’ll get closer to it as we move along.”

[Also from HIMSS14: ICD-10: The day after.]

Mat Kendall, director of ONC’s office of provider adoption support, said that because it's an important issue and can “seem overwhelming” to providers, ONC has been working to develop materials that explain the initiative.

As has CMS, for its part. Robert Tagalicod, director of CMS office of e-health standards and services, said in a Monday interview with HIMSS Media that CMS is unveiling the eHealth University here at HIMSS14, essentially delivering what it promised last year at HIMSS13. In addition to the aforementioned list of initiatives, including accountable care, meaningful use, ICD-10, and value-based purchasing, the eHealth University rubric also includes provider-centric resources for administrative simplification and physician quality reporting.

“These are the things we look at when we talk about alignment,” Tagalicod said. “At this point are they aligned? No, but we can get there.”

While no one from CMS or ONC gave a specific timeframe for such alignment, Jodi Daniel, director of ONC’s office of policy planning, said that the notice of proposed rulemaking for 2015 voluntary certification that ONC circulated late Friday contains a lot of questions about Stage 3.

“Is stage 3 an opportunity to start working (toward alignment)? Yes,” Daniel said, adding that the expectation is for 2017 criteria and stage 3 requirements to emerge later this year. 

“Those are concepts you are going to hear a lot from us,” DeSalvo said. “We are just beginning to seriously evaluate our expectations.”

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