AHIC reviews, sends back EHR recommendations

By: Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer Modern Healthcare Online

The American Health Information Community on Tuesday sent back for revision a list of recommendations by its work group on electronic health records aimed at boosting EHR adoption, including a controversial incentive proposal that would reward doctors who have EHRs and penalize those who do not.

David Brailer, co-chairman of the AHIC, a public-private policy healthcare information technology policy advisory panel created by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt in 2005, asked fellow AHIC member and EHR work group co-leader Lillee Smith Gelinas to take the recommendations and tweak their language and have them checked by lawyers.

Finally, Brailer advised Gelinas, vice president of clinical performance at group purchasing organization VHA, that the EHR work group should “have some forum with an open hearing so we can have more debate” on the proposals.

The six proposals were:

  • Leverage federal purchasing power by having the government, through its contracts with health plans and other payers, support widespread adoption of IT standards and “foster the use of pay-for-performance programs for physicians that include structural measures to incent the adoption and effective utilization of certified EHRs.”
  • The pay-for-performance schemes should use “reliable, standardized and validated tools which are currently available to assess structural measures as defined by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, such as the NCQA’s Physician Practice Connections or the CMS’ publicly available Office System Survey.”
  • HHS should continue to support the physician IT training programs now under way called Doctor’s Office Quality-Information Technology University, or DOQ-IT U.
  • HHS should work with the federally funded Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, which tests and certifies EHR systems, “to obtain medico-legal counsel to assure that its functional criteria include documentation, security and other approaches that will mitigate malpractice risk.”
  • “Similarly, HHS should meet with medical malpractice insurers “to encourage premium reductions for those physicians who have adopted certified EHRs.”
  • “HHS should develop a schedule for implementing differential reimbursement to Medicare physicians for use or nonuse of EHRs. While we would defer to departmental expertise, we note that this might be achieved by paying full Medicare rates and marketbasket updates (and possibly an EHR premium) to physicians using certified EHRs, while physicians using paper-based records are paid at discounted rates achieved by nonqualification for full marketbasket updates or other measures.”

Full article here: http://www.modernhealthcare.com

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