Archives: Regulatory Incentives

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Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020 Open for Comment

On December 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020.  “The Strategic Plan represents a coordinated and focused effort to appropriately collect, share, and use interoperable health information to improve health care, individual, community and … Continue Reading

CMS Extends Attestation Deadline for Hospitals in Medicare EHR Incentive Program

On November 24, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would extend the deadline for hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) to attest to meaningful use for the 2014 reporting year in the Medicare Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program.  The deadline was extended for a month, from November 30, 2014 to … Continue Reading

CMS Expands Medicare Telehealth Coverage and Continues Support for Chronic Care Management Coverage; Notes Limitations of Current Law

As part of the October 31, 2014 final rule updating payment polices under the Medicare physician fee schedule, CMS continued its policy of allowing payment for non-face-to-face chronic care management services and also expanded the list of Medicare-covered telehealth services.  However, CMS declined to provide coverage for other proposed telehealth services, and the agency noted the limits … Continue Reading

HHS Secretary Names Members for Health Information Technology Policy Committee and Health Information Technology Standards Committee

On November 4, 2014, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell named a new member to the Health Information Technology Policy Committee (HITPC) and renewed appointments for three members of the Health Information Technology Standards Committee (HITSC).… Continue Reading

JASON Task Force Issues Final Report

Last year, JASON, an independent group of scientists, issued a report criticizing the state of electronic health records (EHR) and health information interoperability and exchange in the United States. Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) JASON Task Force issued its report analyzing JASON’s findings and recommendations.  The JASON Task Force … Continue Reading

CMS Reopens Meaningful Use Hardship Exception Application Period

On October 7, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reopened the submission period for hardship exception applications to allow eligible professionals and hospitals to avoid 2015 meaningful use penalties.  Penalties for failing to demonstrate meaningful use of Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT) were applied beginning October 1, 2014 for hospitals, and … Continue Reading

Legislation Introduced to Require CMS to Allow Three-Month EHR Reporting Period in 2015

In September, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Congressman Jim Matheson introduced H.R. 5481 — the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting Act of 2014 (“Flex-IT Act”).  This legislation would provide a three-month reporting period, instead of a full year reporting period, for demonstrating meaningful use in the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Payment Program in 2015.… Continue Reading

ONC Finalizes Changes to 2014 Edition EHR Certification Criteria

On September 11, 2014, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) published a final rule updating the 2014 Edition Electronic Health Records (EHR) certification criteria.  The certification criteria are technical standards that EHR technology must meet in order for hospitals and health care professionals to achieve meaningful use of EHR (and … Continue Reading

ONC Releases Ten-Year Plan for Health IT Interoperability

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a plan entitled, “Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure.”  ONC explained that the release of the plan “is an invitation to health … Continue Reading

CMS and ONC Delay EHR Deadlines

On May 23, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) jointly published proposed rules extending certain deadlines for meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR) and implementation of certified electronic health records technology (CEHRT).  See 79 Fed. Reg. 29,732 (May 23, … Continue Reading

FDA Releases FDASIA Health IT Report With Recommendations for a Risk-Based Regulatory Framework

On April 3, 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) proposed a risk-based approach to determining the level of oversight that should apply to health information technology (“HIT”).  The FDASIA Health IT Report: Proposed Strategy and Recommendations for a Risk-Based Framework divides HIT into three functional categories that pose varying levels of safety risks and … Continue Reading

Legal and Practical Challenges Surround Telehealth Implementation

Health care providers and other entities face a host of legal and practical challenges as they implement telehealth and telemedicine initiatives. For example, providers of telehealth services, and the entities creating or hosting telehealth platforms, must determine which federal and state privacy and security laws apply to them.  These laws, such as the federal Health … Continue Reading

Medicare Coverage of Telehealth Services: Current Law and Changes for 2014

Medicare Part B pays for certain health services furnished to rural beneficiaries via an “interactive telecommunications system”—a system that provides for real-time audio and video communication.  Among the covered services are office visits, certain behavioral health services, diabetes self-management training, and medical nutrition therapy.  The practitioner furnishing the service remotely (the “distant site”  provider) may … Continue Reading
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