Tag: EHR Incentives

Doctors Administrative Solutions Returned to the White House to Advise on the International Trade and Export of U.S. Health Information Technology

Doctors Administrative Solutions (DAS) CEO, David Schlaifer and  Director of Government Affairs, Mallory Tai Taylor made their second visit to the White House on Monday, June 24, 2013 as champions for independent physicians.

Schlaifer and Taylor participated in The Obama Administration’s Roundtable on Health IT and Exports, which focused on promoting the sale of Health IT internationally while also heeding the need to develop sound regulations and practice protocols necessary to successfully integrate electronic health care management systems across the global marketplace.

“It’s an honor to collaborate with some of the most respected and influential thought leaders in the Health IT industry, while also a significant responsibility to the health care providers we serve,” explained Schlaifer. “The constantly changing marketplace means our clients, some of the nation’s more than 289,000 independent physicians, need a strong voice at the table to ensure their unique business challenges and concerns are not only heard but also addressed.”

Roundtable participants reviewed the current progress of integrating health IT systems in the domestic marketplace. A critical evaluation of successful case studies and setbacks were used to establish key benchmarks for best practices in the global marketplace.

Included in the discussions co-hosted by Business Forward were Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade; David Muntz, Principle Deputy National Coordinator, Office of National Coordinator, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Claudia Williams, Health IT Liaison, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; among other notable business leaders representing such organizations as Oracle and Intel.

“We’re pleased by how the effort to expand our nation’s burgeoning health care IT infrastructure into the global marketplace is being so thoughtfully planned and considered by top White House officials,” explained Schlaifer. “As the dividing line between the domestic and international marketplace becomes increasingly blurred, having collaborative IT systems in place will be an essential component to providing quality health care.”

About Doctors Administrative Solutions (DAS)

Now entering its second decade, DAS has emerged as a top market leader providing electronic health record (EHR),practice management (PM) and revenue cycle management (RCM) solutions to health care providers that want to prioritize patient care over paperwork.  Headquartered in Tampa and with its newest office located in the New York metropolitan area, prioritizing customer service has made DAS an EHR provider with a 100 percent meaningful use attestation success rate among its rapidly growing network of 3,000 system users.

About Business Forward

Business Forward is an organization that helps ensure business has a voice at the policy table -specifically, one that helps build stronger support for policies that promote America’s economic competitiveness.

June 30th Deadline: Reporting Period To Submit eRx Data And Avoid Adjustments

A major Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program deadline is approaching for both individual eligible professionals (EPs) and group practices participating in the Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO). If you are an EP or an eRx GPRO participant, you must successfully report as an electronic prescriber before June 30, 2013 or you will experience a payment adjustment in 2014 for professional services covered under Medicare Part B’s Physician Fee Schedule (PFS.) The 2013 eRx Incentive Program 6-month reporting period (January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013) is the final reporting period available to you if you wish to avoid the 2014 eRx payment adjustment. If you do not successfully report, a payment adjustment of 2.0% will be applied, and you will receive only 98.0% of your Medicare Part B PFS amount for covered professional services in 2014. This deadline does not apply to you if the eligible professional achieves Meaningful Use under the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Program during the 12-month eRx reporting period (1/1/12-12/31/12) or the 6-month eRx reporting period (1/1/13-6/30/13) and attests during the 6-month reporting period (1/1/13-6/30/13). See other exceptions below: Avoiding the 2014 eRx Payment Adjustment Individual EPs and eRx GPRO participants who were not successful electronic prescribers in 2012 can avoid 2014 eRx payment adjustment by meeting specified reporting requirements between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013. Below are the 6-month reporting requirements:

  • Individual EPs – 10 eRx events via claims
  • eRx GPRO of 2-24 EPs – 75 eRx events via claims
  • eRx GPRO of 25-99 EPs – 625 eRx events via claims
  • eRx GPRO of 100+ EPs – 2,500 eRx events via claims

Exclusions and Hardships Exemptions Exclusions from the 2014 eRx payment adjustment only apply to certain individual EPs and group practices, and CMS will automatically exclude those individual EPs and group practices who meet the criteria. CMS may exempt individual eligible professionals and group practices participating in eRx GPRO from the 2014 eRx payment adjustment if it is determined that compliance with the requirements for becoming a successful electronic prescriber would result in a significant hardship. Requests for hardship exemptions must be submitted through the Communication Support Page by 11:59pm ET on June 30, 2013. More information on exclusion criteria and hardship exemption categories can be found on the Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program: 2014 Payment Adjustment Fact Sheet. Questions about eRx? If you have questions regarding the eRx Incentive Program, eRx payment adjustments, or need assistance submitting a hardship exemption request, please contact the QualityNet Help Desk at 866-288-8912 (TTY 1-877-715-6222) or via qnetsupport@sdps.org. The Help Desk is available Monday through Friday from 7am-7pm CT.

Florida Ranked Third in Country for Health Record Payments

Florida health care providers have received $977 million in incentive payments for electronic health records meaningful use, the third highest amount paid to any state.

Data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services shows that since the health records incentive program started in 2011, a total of $14.4 billion has been paid to about 350,000 eligible hospitals and other providers.

In the first three months of this year, $290 million was paid out in the incentive program.

So far, California has received the most – $1.2 billion since the program’s inception.

At $1.1 billion, Texas ranked second among the states in incentive payments.

We hold our doctors’ hands when it comes to attesting for meaningful use. Learn how you can become one of them today. Contact us!

55% of Doctors Have Received EHR Incentives

More than half of U.S. doctors have switched to electronic health records and are using them to manage patients’ basic medical information and prescriptions, according to federal data set to be released Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services says it has reached a tipping point as it seeks to steer medical providers away from paper records. Advocates for electronic health records say they have the potential to make medical care safer and more efficient. In 2015, the federal government will start penalizing providers that haven’t begun using electronic health records in reimbursements they get for treating patients.

But some doctors have been cautious about changing long-standing practice, saying that typing into a computer while talking with patients requires more attention than taking notes by hand. Others are concerned that electronic systems don’t allow for enough family history or fail to highlight the important parts of a patient’s medical record. Some critics also cite privacy concerns.

Overall, some 291,325 doctors and other providers—or around 55% of the office-based providers eligible for federal incentives in exchange for adopting electronic records and using them at a set level—have received payments, the department said. Some 3,880 hospitals have also made the change. Doctors have been paid about $5.9 billion to date for participating in an incentive program established under the 2009 economic-stimulus law. An additional $8.7 billion has gone to hospitals, according to HHS data.

To get the funds, providers must have set up electronic systems that contain patients’ records, with details such as blood pressure, weight, height and medications. They also must write prescriptions electronically. The new systems are also designed to make some recommendations to providers when they enter orders into them, such as the potential for an allergic reaction to a drug.

Even medical practices that qualify for the federal payments may still use paper for some tasks, such as taking information from patients when they come for appointments. Some doctors have complained that their system gives them unnecessary warning alerts.

“Please, be patient with your physician as they transition to this,” said Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for health information technology at HHS. “The ‘under construction, pardon our appearance’ sign—that’s the phase we’re in.”

Hospitals and doctors that have hit the current standard for using electronic records are being encouraged to move to a higher stage at which they can share information with other doctors and send patients electronic reminders or summaries of their visits.

David Blumenthal, who preceded Dr. Mostashari as national coordinator at HHS, said the agency had made a conscious decision not to push providers too far too quickly.

“It’s a matter of getting people on the escalator and moving them steadily up to higher and more demanding uses. You can’t get from the bottom of the escalator to the top in one step; you have to take them along for the ride,” he said. Dr. Blumenthal said he expected most of the remaining providers to come on board within five years.

100% of DAS eligible providers have received their meaningful use money. Let us help you qualify for yours today! Contact Us

House Panel Passes Alternative Health Plan, Rejects Federal Funds

The House Appropriations Committee today passed HB 7169, a measure that creates a program called Florida Health Choices Plus, which will cover about 115,000 people.

The committee rejected a strike-all amendment from state Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, that would have directed the state Agency for Healthcare Administration to accept federal funds and extend  the state Medicaid program under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The amendment would have meant health coverage for more than 1 million Floridians, including childless adults.

Jones said the state would have gained $1.2 billion over the next 10 years from the federal government with her amendment. But Republicans stayed firm in their opposition to accepting federal funds to help uninsured Floridians get coverage.

“In my opinion, Medicaid expansion is wrong for this state,” said House Majority Leader Stephen Precourt. “We have a great plan here today to vote on, and adopting this amendment would be irresponsible.”

The committee ultimately adopted three other amendments before approving the bill, sponsored by state Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Lutz.

$5.6 Billion in Medicare Cuts for FY 2014 in President Obama’s Proposed Budget

President Barack Obama’s highly anticipated fiscal 2014 budget released Wednesday proposes $5.6 billion in Medicare payment cuts for that year and about $400 billion in total federal healthcare savings over the next decade.

In a news conference at the White House, the president called his budget—which aims to reduce the deficit by nearly $1.8 trillion over 10 years and would eliminate the sequester cuts—“a fiscally responsible blueprint for middle-class jobs and growth.” He also described the budget’s Medicare cuts as ways to reduce the cost of healthcare without shifting those costs to beneficiaries. The budget would derive much of the $5.6 billion in fiscal 2014 Medicare savings from $3.1 billion it expects to save by adopting a Medicaid drug-rebate program for the dual-eligible population. The drug rebate program requires refunds from pharmaceutical manufacturers to Medicaid programs.

Following a news conference at HHS headquarters, Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator and director for the Center for Medicare at CMS said the rationale behind that decision is to ensure that the Medicare program gets the same deals as state Medicaid programs.

“I think the question really is: why should one payer get a much better rebate for the same drug, for the same population?” Blum said, adding, that Medicare Part D should benefit from the same lower prices in the Medicaid program. “Same drugs, same people, but they just happen to be eligible for Medicare, not Medicaid, and so it’s a really data-driven approach to make sure that Part D is getting the best value for the program.”

Many of the healthcare savings proposed in the budget were derived through various drug cuts, including $740 million in separate drug savings in fiscal 2014 from barring pharmaceutical firm agreements to delay the availability of generic versions of brand name drugs. The drug cuts were hailed as “sensible changes to Medicare” by one advocacy group closely allied with the administration.

“It is high time that beneficiaries’ costs, rather than windfall profits of the pharmaceutical industry, are protected,” Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, said in a written statement.Other Medicare cuts in the budget included $780 million in graduate medical education, $830 million from post-acute care providers, $200 million less for hospital bad debt payments, $190 million in cuts to inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, and $90 million in cuts to critical-access hospitals.

The hospital cuts drew a sharp early rebuke from the industry.

“Instead of payment cuts that undermine hospitals’ ability to transform healthcare, we urge the Obama administration and Congress to seek a more transformational approach to reduce costs,” Blair Childs, senior vice president of public affairs at Premier healthcare alliance, said in a news release.

However, critics dismissed the proposals because they would do little to extend the solvency of the Medicare hospital insurance trust fund, which is scheduled to be exhausted in 2024.

“Trying to reduce costs by cutting what doctors and hospitals get paid or introducing price controls for prescription drugs doesn’t change the fundamental problems with Medicare and only threatens seniors’ healthcare,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking member of the Finance Committee, said in a written statement.

Savings from “Medicare structural reforms” for fiscal 2014 were made up entirely of $350 million from encouraging low-income seniors to use more generic drugs. However, additional categories of reform savings would be added in future years. Over the long term, structural reforms totaling $67.8 billion would come primarily from increasing premiums for higher-income beneficiaries.

For Medicaid, spending would jump by $428 million in fiscal 2014, as the millions of new enrollees are added in states that opt to expand eligibility as encouraged by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to 138% of the federal poverty level.

AHA airs concerns

Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, said in a statement that the organization has “significant concerns” about certain payment policies in the budget, including the reductions for hospital bad debt payments, graduate medical education, and inpatient rehabilitation providers. But the AHA was satisfied with other areas of the budget, including a proposal to delay scheduled cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share (DSH) program by one year until 2015.

“At the same time, we are pleased that the proposal backed off previous policies to cut Medicaid provider assessments and recognized the need to delay cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program because there will be fewer insured people,” Umbdenstock said in the statement. “We also are pleased that the proposal does not include a single federal Medicaid matching rate that would have cut the program.”

The budget advocated a movement away from the Medicare’s sustainable growth-rate formula, instead of its outright repeal, which the White House favored in the deficit-reduction discussions late last year. The fiscal 2014 budget proposed “a period of payment stability lasting several years” to allow development of new payment models that encourage care coordination and tying provider payments to health outcomes. Providers who adopt the new payment models would receive increased payments while those that remained in the fee-for-service system would face cuts.

Meanwhile, the budget proposes $80.1 billion in discretionary funding for HHS in fiscal 2014, which is a $3.9 billion increase from the 2012 enacted level of funding. The proposal would provide $31 billion for the National Institutes of Health, a move that the medical research community was quick to praise.

“As the centerpieces of the medical innovation ecosystem, NIH not only supports the research that leads to treatments and cures for our most devastating diseases, but drives the life sciences economic engine, annually sustaining over 400,000 jobs and nearly $60 billion in economic activity nationwide,” according to a statement from United for Medical Research, an organization that represents research institutions and advocacy groups such as the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Heart Association, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University and PhRMA. “The president’s NIH budget proposal is an important step forward in restoring the crippling $1.6 billion cut the agency received as a result of the sequester.”

The administration also aims to bolster mental healthcare services in America by proposing a $130 million in initiative to help teachers and other adults recognize mental illness in young people. That includes $55 million for Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) to provide mental health “first aid” training in schools and communities; $50 million to train 5,000 new mental health professionals to serve students and young adults; and $25 million for Healthy Transitions, a new competitive grant to help support transitioning young people between the ages of 16 and 25 and their families “access and navigate behavioral health treatment systems,” according to a summary of the budget for HHS.

In the HHS news conference, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius detailed how much the administration has requested to implement the federally facilitated health insurance exchanges. The health insurance exchanges—both state-based and federally operated—will launch next year.

“This budget before you, the 2014 budget, asks for a total $1.5 billion in funding for the federally facilitated exchanges, both the operational side and education and outreach,” Sebelius said.