CMS proposes final rule for promoting interoperability program, eliminates redundant reporting measures

Administrator Seema Verma said CMS listened to public feedback and is working to remove obstacles in the way of quality care.
By Susan Morse
03:00 PM
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CMS booth at HIMSS18

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday issued a new rule that it hopes will, among other things, advance interoperability and reduce administrative burdens.

Through a request for information issued in April, CMS received stakeholder feedback on solutions for achieving its goals of interoperability and the sharing of healthcare data between providers.

While the agency previously required hospitals to make publicly available a list of their standard charges or their policies for allowing the public to view this list upon request, CMS has updated its guidelines to specifically require hospitals to post this information on the internet in a machine-readable format.

The final rule also reiterates the requirement for providers to use the 2015 edition of certified electronic health record technology in 2019 to demonstrate meaningful use to qualify for incentive payments and to avoid reductions to Medicare payments.

The final rule removes unnecessary, redundant and process-driven measures from several pay-for-reporting and pay-for-performance quality programs, CMS said. It eliminates a number of measures acute care hospitals are currently required to report across the four hospital pay-for-reporting and value-based purchasing quality programs. And it “de-duplicates” certain measures that are in multiple programs.

In all, these changes will remove a total of 18 measures from the programs and de-duplicate another 25 measures and it eliminates three measures in the long-term care hospital quality reporting program.

CMS said its changes in hospital quality and value measures will eliminate more than 2 million hours of work, saving providers about $75 million annually. This promotes the agency’s patients over paperwork initiative.

CMS is also considering future actions based on the public feedback it received on ways hospitals can display price information and how to create patient-friendly interfaces to access healthcare data and compare providers.

“We’ve listened to patients and their doctors who urged us to remove the obstacles getting in the way of quality care and positive health outcomes,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Today’s final rule reflects public feedback on CMS proposals issued in April, and the agency’s patient-driven priorities of improving the quality and safety of care, advancing health information exchange and usability, and removing outdated or redundant regulations on healthcare providers to make way for innovation and greater value.”

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com