HIMSS points to clear indications MU incentives are working

By Healthcare IT News Staff
11:45 AM

“HIMSS opposes the October 4 call from four House Republican leaders for the Department of Health and Human Services to ‘immediately suspend the distribution of incentive payments until [the Department] promulgates universal interoperable standards,’ the organization said in a statement it issued October 5.

HIMSS represents nearly 50,000 individual members, of which more than two thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations.

The following is HIMSS' statement:

"HIMSS emphasizes the significant progress that has been made towards the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and exchange of health information since the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive program began in 2011.

[Commentary: 5 obvious cases against suspending MU payments]

The House Republican leaders’ letter asks HHS to take additional steps to “advance interoperability and meaningful use” of health information technology.  HIMSS notes that the Stage 2 final rule, published by the Department on September 4, moves the nation definitively towards interoperability.
   
While there is still much work to be done, HIMSS observes that adoption of secure, interoperable health IT systems continues to grow, in part due to the mandate of the HITECH provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Recently-released CMS data show that more than 2,700 eligible hospitals and 73,000 eligible professionals have attested to meaningful use Stage 1 requirements since the incentive program began in 2011.

And since the first incentive payments were made in May 2011, HIMSS Analytics data reports a steady increase in eligible hospitals achieving higher scores on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM).

These are clear indicators that government incentives are working.

HIMSS supports the concept of graduated complexity of meaningful use; this stepped approach recognizes evolutionary maturity of adoption and implementation of health IT – all of which serves as the foundation for healthcare transformation.  Significant progress has been made; widespread interoperability is within reach.
 
As we move toward meaningful use Stage 2 – which requires greater levels of interoperability between care providers – HIMSS honors its pledge to equip all care providers with the tools and education needed to transform healthcare.  HIMSS looks forward to its ongoing work with Congress, the Administration, Federal Agencies and our members to ensure that the EHR Incentive Program and all other federal and private quality initiatives impactfully improve the quality, safety, cost-effectiveness, and access to care for the benefit of patients and our Nation.

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