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HHS Priorities for Cost Reduction and Quality Improvement
March 6, 2013

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari, MD, released the Health and Human Services plan to accelerate health information exchange and transformation of the health care system.

This year:

  •  HHS will set the goal of 50 percent of physician offices using electronic health records and 80 percent of eligible hospitals receiving meaningful use incentive payments by the end of 2013.
     
  • HHS will increase its emphasis on ensuring electronic exchange across providers by issuing a request for information (RFI) seeking public input about policies that will strengthen the business case for electronic exchange across providers to ensure that individuals’ health information will follow them securely wherever they access care.
     
  • Medicare beneficiaries can now access their full Medicare records online. HHS is working with the Veterans Administration and more than 450 different organizations nationwide to make health care information available to individuals and health plan members. HHS is also encouraging Medicare Advantage plans to expand the use of Blue Button to provide beneficiaries with one-click secure access to their health information.
     
  •  HHS is implementing rules that define what data must be able to be exchanged between health information technology systems, including how data will be structured and coded so that providers will have a uniform way to format and securely send data.
     
  •  HHS is taking steps to ensure that the integrity of the program is sound and technology is not being used to “game the system.”

The goals build on the ongoing progress that HHS and its partners have made on expanding health information technology use. The RFI solicits input on policies that could further bolster the business case for secure information sharing. In addition to seeking public input, the RFI also discusses several potential new policies and ideas to accelerate interoperability and exchange of a patient’s health information across care settings so that better and more affordable care can be provided.

The RFI is available at http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2013-05266_PI.pdf. The deadline for comments is April 21.

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