HIMSS opposes the October 4th call from four House Republican leaders for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “immediately suspend the distribution of incentive payments until [the Department] promulgates universal interoperable standards.” HIMSS emphasizes the significant progress that has been made towards the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and exchange of health information since the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive program began in 2011.
The House Republican leaders’ letter asks HHS to take additional steps to “advance interoperability and meaningful use” of health information technology (IT). HIMSS notes that the Stage 2 Final Rule, published by the Department on September 4, moves the Nation definitively towards interoperability.
While there is still much work to be done, HIMSS observes that adoption of secure, interoperable health IT systems continues to grow, in part due to the mandate of the HITECH provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Recently-released CMS data show that over 2,700 Eligible Hospitals and 73,000 Eligible Professionals have attested to Meaningful Use Stage 1 requirements since the incentive program began in 2011. And since the first incentive payments were made in May 2011, HIMSS Analytics data reports a steady increase in eligible hospitals achieving higher scores on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM).SM As the graphic below demonstrates, hospitals across the United States are increasingly mature in their use of IT:
These are clear indicators that government incentives are working.
HIMSS supports the concept of graduated complexity of meaningful use; this stepped approach recognizes evolutionary maturity of adoption and implementation of health IT – all of which serves as the foundation for healthcare transformation. Significant progress has been made; widespread interoperability is within reach.
As we move toward Meaningful Use Stage 2 – which requires greater levels of interoperability between care providers – HIMSS honors its pledge to equip all care providers with the tools and education needed to transform healthcare. HIMSS looks forward to its ongoing work with Congress, the Administration, Federal Agencies and our members to ensure that the EHR Incentive Program and all other federal and private quality initiatives impactfully improve the quality, safety, cost-effectiveness, and access to care for the benefit of patients and our Nation.
HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Founded 52 years ago, HIMSS and its related organizations are headquartered in Chicago with additional offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. HIMSS represents nearly 50,000 individual members, of which more than two thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. HIMSS also includes over 570 corporate members and more than 225 not-for-profit partner organizations that share our mission of transforming healthcare through the effective use of information technology and management systems. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare practices and public policy through its content expertise, professional development, research initiatives, and media vehicles designed to promote information and management systems' contributions to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. To learn more about HIMSS and to find out how to join us and our members in advancing our cause, please visit our website at www.himss.org.