Connecting Vision with Technology

HCIC was founded in 1990 to assist organizations in health care information technology management. HCIC has evolved into a healthcare consulting organization that focuses on optimizing information resources, people, systems, and technology via demonstrated expertise in value based planning, systems management, organizational readiness assessment, process improvement, healthcare standards advisement, health information exchange, and technology integration.

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HCIC News from our Clients

Truven Top 100 Hospital Scores Measure 'Leadership Impact'

Congratulations to our clients Virginia Hospital Center and MedStar St. Mary's who made the top 100 list. The Truven list is different than other scorecards as it is designed to measure "the impact of hospital leaders, and what they emphasize within their organizations providing a longer-term picture of the impact of leadership in driving improvement forward."

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Meaningful Use Readiness Achievement of MU Benefits & Provider Adoptions
Program Management Portfolio Management for a Medical Center
Strategic Planning Development of IS Strategic Plan
Clinical Systems Program planning for Clinical Systems
Contract Negotiation Alignment of Incentives
Market Analysis Viability of HIE Market
Strategy & System Selection Replacement of a Medical Information System
Administrative Data Exchange Planning & Implementation Support
Clinical Data Strategy Clinical Data Product Analysis

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Hot Topics

February 2015

Meaningful Use – where do we go from here?

2014 was a turbulent year for Meaningful Use (MU), with many hospitals and physicians grappling with the increasingly stringent requirements, particularly with Stage 2.  Year-end results showed that only about 1700 hospitals qualified under Stage 2, which means that many more will be dealing with these issues in the next year or two.  At the same time, evidence of a “digital divide” is growing.  CMS has stated that 257,000 physicians, and over 200 hospitals, will be subject to payment reductions in 2015, based on their failing to achieve MU in 2013.  Not surprisingly, this announcement has provoked strong reaction from the American Medical Association, among other organizations.  A bipartisan bill, introduced in the current session of Congress, is intended to give providers more flexibility in meeting MU requirements in 2015, but it is unclear what will happen with this bill.  On January 29, 2015, CMS announced their intent to issue a proposed rule in the spring to shorten the 2015 attestation to 90 days, and to align hospital payments with the calendar year, rather than the federal fiscal year.  It is too early to tell whether this proposed rule will pre-empt legislative action. (Note that this proposed rule is separate from the Stage 3 final rule, which is also slated to be published in the spring.)

Regardless of these possible modifications, the greater complexity of Stage 2 MU will affect many more hospitals and physicians in 2015.  Virtually everyone who first attested in 2013 or before will be required to meet Stage 2 requirements in 2015, with the difficulties implied by those more stringent measures.  Stage 3 requirements (not yet finalized) will not take effect until 2017 at the earliest, so most organizations will be dealing with Stage 2 over the next two years.

All of this is occurring against a backdrop of declining reimbursement for MU; most organizations are now in the 3rd or 4th year of participation, which means that the financial incentive to adopt is now focused more on avoiding penalties than getting incentive payments.

We urge providers to pay close attention to Stage 3 requirements when the final rule is released.  With incentive dollars diminishing or vanishing, and with requirements becoming more stringent, the competition for funding will become more difficult, and it will be more important than ever to justify the costs of MU compliance on the basis of improved care and quality, rather than receiving incentive payments.

Hot Topics in Health Care is a quarterly feature produced by Jim Oakes, Principal, Health Care Information Consultants.