The Department of Health and Human Services will award $1.25 million to information sharing and analysis centers to help them work with federal agencies in sharing and analyzing threat information related to cybersecurity. "This coordinated resource will focus on sharing the most up-to-date threat information across the health and public health sectors and will better equip health systems to identify potential threats and further protect electronic health information," said National Health IT Coordinator Karen DeSalvo.
Customers using athenahealth's athenaOne cloud-based EHR, practice management and care coordination platform will be able to meet standards under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System; otherwise, the company will pay the penalties, athenahealth said. The company's MIPS guarantee covers providers who are new athenaOne clients live on athenaNet by June 30, 2017, or those who have upgraded to the platform by that date.
Fifty-nine percent of 400 US hospitals receiving Medicare incentive payments for using certified EHR systems as of September 2014 said they experienced an unplanned EHR outage, citing hardware malfunctioning, internet connectivity issues, power failures and natural disasters as the main causes, a report from HHS' Office of Inspector General said. The report also said EHR disruption and dysfunctional EHR systems affected patient care.
Kaiser Permanente's early gathering of health care data has allowed an easy transition from population health to personalized medicine and community health, said Kaiser Permanente Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. John Mattison. "The 'patient' is a person who has a life outside of health care, making daily decision[s] unrelated to medicine, but which greatly affect his or her health," Mattison said.
The Department of Agriculture awarded a $373,658 grant to Kalispell Regional Medical Center to help support the provider's telemedicine program in rural communities in Montana. The center will use the grant to improve connectivity to remote sites and help provide distance learning and leadership development for health care professionals.
Phase two of HHS' Office for Civil Rights HIPAA desk audits should not be a concern for prepared covered entities because if they didn't receive a notification email on July 11, that means they most likely are not included in the investigation for the time being, said Jennifer Rathburn, co-chair of the Data Privacy & Security Team at Quarles and Brady. Foley & Lardner information security lawyer Mike Overly said the second phase is "not nearly as invasive as phase one" but will involve documentation in one of three areas -- the Privacy Rule, the Breach Notification Rule or the Security Rule.
The theft of a laptop that contained health information for up to 10,000 people prompted the HHS Office for Civil Rights to impose a fine of $2.75 million on the University of Mississippi Medical Center and require the provider to report to the agency for three years. OCR also criticized the center for not notifying affected individuals, not doing enough to secure health records and allowing its ICU workers to access the laptop without using individual user names.
The implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act could threaten physicians' autonomy in making decisions for their patients, provide burdensome documentation tasks and pressure some solo and small practices to close, according to this analysis. MACRA implementation could also contribute to burnout among health care professionals, increase the risk of medical errors -- especially with the use of EHRs -- and reduce patients' access to health care.
The proposed provisions under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act would bring considerable burdens on eligible clinicians, reduce their chances of receiving value-based incentives and would not reduce federal spending on health care, according to a report from the National Center for Policy Analysis. The report also offered several ways to improve MACRA, such as including Medicare Part D claims and adding more bundled payment models.
A Joint Commission survey, conducted in collaboration with the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals, revealed that less than 2% of hospitals are ready to immediately submit the electronic clinical quality measures as a part of the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program, while only 18% are in good shape and working on improving their readiness. Hospitals cited their EHR systems as the reason for requesting an extraordinary circumstances waiver to submit eCQMs by the February 2017 deadline.
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