MACRA rule adds EHR flexibility, pushes back mandate for 2015 editions

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday delivered a 2018 MACRA proposed rule that would add more flexibility to the health IT mandates associated with the law.

The proposal pushes back the requirement that clinicians use 2015-certified electronic health records for another year. Instead, doctors can continue to use legacy systems if they choose and those that opt to use 2015 editions would get a 10 percent payment bonus from CMS.

Read More…

Pop Health Data Needed for Future Patient Engagement Tech

Healthcare professionals are increasingly looking into patient engagement technology solutions that help them determine how and when to best engage a healthcare consumer, according to a report from Black Book Research.

The report includes testimony from nearly 750 industry leaders, including chief information officers, chief financial officers, and hospital managers. Ninety percent of respondents said that patient engagement technology will dominate their population health management tools going forward.

Read More

Exploring patients’ roles in chronic illness care coordination

Strong care coordination is one of the core necessities for effective chronic disease management.

Patients managing a chronic illness are confronted with a plethora of health information, often coming from multiple different specialists and primary care clinicians. All of this information must be sent from one clinician to the other, with each doctor knowing what the other is doing to achieve the end goal of patient wellness.

Read more

3 health care trends that don’t hinge on the ACA

In early May 2017 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare). Subsequently, Republicans in the U.S. Senate began working on their version of a law to do the same. The House bill is flawed, leaving many uncertainties that the Senate has promised to address. While the fate of the bill is in flux, there are three immutable trends in the U.S. health care system that won’t change. As a result, regardless of how the law evolves, tremendous opportunities will remain for consumers, medical providers, health care payers, and investors to shape and improve the health care system.

Read more 

The newest faces in hospital C-suites are focusing on patient engagement

As the healthcare industry continues to move to value-based care with its emphasis on patient experience and reducing costs, some hospitals and health systems are putting stock in a new leadership role: chief experience officer (CXO). Hospitals that designate a C-suite executive expect to benefit financially from higher patient satisfaction scores and positive publicity.

Read more

Lung screening: A promising line of defense in the lung cancer battle

Lung screening recently moved to the forefront of the cancer prevention discussion. As you may be aware, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States—and incidence is on the rise.1 Unfortunately lung cancer isn’t typically caught until the late stages when prognosis is poor, but lung screening programs can help increase survival odds by identifying cancer in its early stages.

In 2011, the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) demonstrated a 20% reduction in lung cancer mortality using low-dose CT scanning for high-risk patients. In response to this study, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released lung screening recommendations aimed at patients aged 55 to 80 who are current (or former) smokers with a 30-pack-year smoking history. When Medicare announced coverage for low-dose CT lung screening programs in February 2015, hospitals and cancer centers across the U.S. began launching their own screening programs.

Read more

Is Meaningful Use over?

Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, made some bold remarks at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, most notably stating that “The meaningful use program as it has existed will now be effectively over and replaced with something better.”   He went on to describe that “something better” would take the form of MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act), a combination of merit based incentive programs and alternative payment models, which will be rolled out in coming years.

This statement was met with approval from many healthcare providers, who have been vocal in their criticism of Meaningful Use (MU). However, others were merely left confused by what seemed to be the sudden death of a program into which many had invested so much time and money.

In the wake of this confusion, he and ONC Director, Karen DeSalvo released a follow up statement on the CMS blog:

“The approach to meaningful use under MACRA won’t happen overnight. Our goal in communicating our principles now is to give everyone time to plan for what’s next and to continue to give us input. We encourage you to look for the MACRA regulations this year; in the meantime, our existing regulations – including meaningful use Stage 3 – are still in effect.”

What initially sounded like the sudden death of Meaningful Use, now sounds a gradual transition to MACRA. And healthcare providers breathing a sigh of relief at avoiding MU stage 3 may want to hold off on that relaxation; according to this timeline, published by the American Academy of Family Physicians in December 2015,  MU stage 3 will continue until 2018.

A timeline for physician payment related to MACRA.

If Meaningful Use is not over until at least 2018, meeting Stage 3 is a reality we need to face.

As CMS reveals their plans for MACRA, we hope to learn more about what that means for healthcare providers and the technology required.  Whatever the regulatory future looks like, we will continue to develop tools that meet the new standards.  We have supported Meaningful Use from the beginning, we’ll support MU stage 3 until it’s truly over, and be ready for MACRA when it comes into action.

Delivering healthcare in the face of complicated, and forever changing regulations is surely difficult (take heart, it’s difficult for vendors too!) but our aim is always to deliver tools that take a complicated process and make it easier to manage operationally.   We certainly don’t have all the answers in the MU and MACRA space but we spend a lot of time delving into how these regulations affect healthcare providers so please contact us with your questions.

To learn more about MU and how the modified rule changes affect ARIA users, please join a Webinar hosted by Malcolm Wright, VP of Product Management on February 4th at noon PST.

Register Now button