Industry experts credit Medicare chief McClellan for advancing healthcare IT

By Bernie Monegain
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON – As Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, prepares to leave his post, healthcare IT experts give him high marks for championing information technology.

McClellan "has been a leading voice on the important role that health information technology and management systems can have in transforming the delivery of healthcare in the United States," said Tom Leary, director of federal affairs for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

McClellan, a physician and economist, announced his resignation Tuesday. He will leave his post by early October, he said.

Scott Wallace, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology credited McClellan for “getting the C-suite focused on healthcare IT – more than anyone else there.” A pay-for-performance pilot is among the IT highlights of McClellan’s two-year tenure at CMS, Wallace noted.

“Absolutely, he’s an HIT champion -– not on infrastructure, but on applications,” Wallace said.

Leary, too, commended McClellan for keeping healthcare IT on the front burner.

“During his tenure as administrator, CMS has taken a very practical approach to ensuring initiatives and regulatory reform are part of an overall strategy to have HIT available where care is provided, whether the setting is the local hospital or provider’s office,” Leary said.

McClellan’s IT focus has been in sync with the American Medical Group Association, which represents multi-specialty medical practices.


 “Dr. McClellan is a champion of HIT adoption and value-based purchasing, two polices already championed by multi-specialty medical groups and integrated delivery systems,” said Donald W. Fisher, president and CEO of the association. “A vast majority of AMGA members have already adopted sophisticated HIT systems, including EMRs and patients registries, and are seeing the value of these technologies. And, given the integrated nature of multi-specialty medical groups, including their use of allied health professionals, they are in a good position to thrive in a value-based purchasing environment.”

Leary described McClellan’s leadership as “visionary.” He credited McClellan for stimulating policy change through the pay-for-performance pilot program, Stark Physician Self-Referral reform, and a Doctor's Office Quality-IT program that laid the groundwork for improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery in the United States.

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