Archives: EHR/EMR

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Incoming HHS Secretary Tom Price Brings Physician-Focused Perspective to Health IT

Tom Price, the Republican representative from Georgia, has been tapped by President-elect Trump as the new Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Rep. Price is himself an orthopedic surgeon and comes from a family of doctors and, as a result, is focused closely on the ways in which government regulations burden … Continue Reading

ONC Releases New Guide on Buying EHR

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a new guide for prospective buyers of Electronic Health Record systems (EHRs).  ONC provides detailed information and suggestions that merit the serious consideration of anyone that contracts or plans to contract with an EHR vendor. … Continue Reading

GAO Recommends that HHS Strengthen Privacy and Security Guidance and Oversight

Earlier this week the Government Accountability Office released a report critiquing the U.S. Department of Health and Humana Services’ (HHS) oversight of and guidance related to health information security and privacy. (The report is available here.) GAO cited the increasing incidence of hacking and other breaches, which affected over 113 million health records in 2015, … Continue Reading

OIG Continues to Call for EHR Fraud Prevention

This past Spring, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) again identified EHR-related fraud as a problem area. Particularly in light of the OIG’s continued focus on this issue, providers would be well-advised to work on strategies to mitigate the risk of EHR fraud.… Continue Reading

CMS Issues Guidance Encouraging the Use of Commercial Off-the-Shelf Technology and Software-as-a-Service for Medicaid Eligibility and Enrollment Systems

In March, CMS issued a State Medicaid Directors Letter (SMDL) about the availability of enhanced federal funding for state Medicaid programs’ eligibility and enrollment (E&E) systems. This SMDL represents CMS’s most recent effort to encourage States to use commercial “off-the-shelf” technology and “software as a service,” instead of customized electronic systems developed and built specifically … Continue Reading

CMS Expands Scope of Enhanced Match for Promotion of Health IT

On February 29, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a State Medicaid Directors Letter (SMDL) that expands the scope of expenditures eligible for the 90 percent federal match for activities to promote the use of a health information exchange (HIE) and the adoption of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology by … Continue Reading

Health Care Companies Agree to “Core Commitments” to Improve Access to EHR

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that a number of large health care companies and providers had “agreed to implement three core commitments” to improve access to electronic health records (EHR).  HHS touted the commitments as a significant step toward increased EHR interoperability.… Continue Reading

New York’s Electronic Prescription Requirement

On March 27, 2016, New York became the first State to require electronic prescribing for both controlled and non-controlled substances and to provide for civil and criminal penalties for doctors failing to comply. Electronic prescribing means the patient no longer receives a paper prescription; rather, he or she chooses a pharmacy to which the electronic … Continue Reading

CMS Extends Meaningful Use Attestation Deadline

On February 11, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the attestation deadline for health-care providers in the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Meaningful Use program.  Originally, providers were required to attest that they met the requirements of the Meaningful Use Program by next Monday, February 29, 2016.  That deadline has been extended by … Continue Reading

CMS Acting Administrator Prioritizes Simplicity and Interoperability In Implementing MACRA

This week, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt set forth guiding principles that CMS will consider in crafting regulations implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).  In January, Administrator Slavitt announced the end of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Meaningful Use Program, which would instead be replaced by … Continue Reading

CMS Launches Streamlined Application for Meaningful Use Hardship Exceptions

On January 22, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced the launch of a new, streamlined application process for providers and hospitals seeking a hardship exception from financial penalties for failing to meet meaningful use electronic health record requirements.   According to CMS, “[t]he streamlined hardship applications reduce the amount of information that … Continue Reading

House Legislation Would Modestly Expand Use of Technology in Treating Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Last month, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015.  The Act is designed to improve access to treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and it includes several provisions to modestly expand and improve the use of technology in delivering … Continue Reading

OIG FY 2016 Work Plan Includes Review of FDA’s Oversight of Networked Devices

On November 2, 2015, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) published its FY 2016 Work Plan, which summarizes new and ongoing activities that OIG plans to pursue with respect to HHS programs and operations during the fiscal year. The FY 2016 Work Plan includes a new review initiative to examine “whether FDA’s oversight of … Continue Reading

CMS Issues New EHR Meaningful Use Rules

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) finalized new rules for the Electronic Health Records (EHR) meaningful use program.  In response to significant public criticism of the program, the final rulemaking offers some additional flexibility for complying with the program’s requirements.… Continue Reading

Cybersecurity Risks with Connected Devices

Earlier this week, our colleague Bianca Nunes published a post on cybersecurity risks with connected devices on Covington’s InsideMedicalDevices blog.  This post describes the FDA’s increasing focus on promoting cybersecurity, as well as a draft practice guide for securing health records maintained on mobile devices published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).… Continue Reading

Senate Approves Bill to Ease Meaningful Use Requirements In Ambulatory Surgery Setting

Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill that would ease federal requirements that professionals seeing patients at ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) “meaningfully use” certified electronic health records (EHRs). The measure would sunset after certified EHR technology is applicable to the ASC setting.… Continue Reading

Comments Requested on Draft Guide on Securing Electronic Health Records on Mobile Devices

The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (“NCCoE”) has released a draft for public comment of the first guide in a new series of publications “that will show businesses and other organizations how to improve their cybersecurity using standards-based, commercially available or open-source tools.” The guide discusses how to secure electronic health records on mobile devices. … Continue Reading

Department of Defense Contract To Overhaul Electronic Health Records System

The Department of Defense (DOD) is expected to select a contractor sometime this summer to modernize its electronic health records (EHR) system. The DOD’s $11 billion Healthcare Management Systems Modernization Electronic Health Record program will replace the agency’s existing EHR system, which supports more than 9.7 million beneficiaries, including active duty personnel, retirees, and their … Continue Reading

21st Century Cures Act with EHR and Telehealth Provisions Passes Through Committee with Flying Colors

* Jack Lund is a summer associate and student at the University of Virginia School of Law        The “21st Century Cures Act” (Cures) cleared its first major hurdle last month when the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously in favor of the legislation.  Among other things, Cures helps to modernize Medicare by … Continue Reading

American Medical Informatics Association Report Makes Recommendations for EHR Systems

On May 28, 2015, a panel from the American Medical Informatics Association (“AMIA”) published an eleven-page “Report of the AMIA EHR 2020 Task Force on the Status and Future Direction of EHRs.”  Recognizing that current problems in EHR use “are complex” and that “[s]olving these problems will require regulatory stability, the development of an acceptable … Continue Reading
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