ONC, CMS Explore Aligning Incentives

Posted on by Frank J. Rosello

This is not going to be easy: ONC and CMS officials are talking about aligning incentives at some point in the future.

On Monday during a town hall session, an attendee representing a Kentucky regional extension center asked top officials of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology whether they are doing anything to tie a number of issues together, including meaningful use, ICD-10, accountable care, value-based payments and health information exchange.

“Yes, HHS is working to harmonize its various programs to create a more seamless and streamlined way to capture the info necessary for value-based payment and ACO,” said national coordinator Karen DeSalvo. “We’ll get closer to it as we move along.”

ONC has been working to develop materials that explain those initiatives, said Mat Kendall, director of ONC’s Office of Policy and Planning, because they’re important issues and can “seem overwhelming” to providers.

ONC is not alone is making clarification efforts. Robert Tagalicod, director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of eHealth Standards and Services said in a Monday interview with HIMSS Media that CMS is unveiling the eHealth University here at HIMSS14, essentially delivering what it promised last year at HIMSS13.

In addition to initiatives in accountable care, meaningful use, ICD-10 and value-based purchasing, the eHealth University rubric also includes provider-centric resources for administrative simplification and physician quality reporting.

“These are the things we look at when we talk about alignment,” Tagalicod said. “At this point are they aligned? No, but we can get there.”

While no one from CMS or ONC gave a specific time frame for such alignment, Jodi Daniel, director of ONC’s Office of Policy Planning, said that the notice of proposed rulemaking for 2015 voluntary EHR certification, which ONC circulated late Friday, contains a lot of questions soliciting feedback about Stage 3.

“Is stage 3 an opportunity to start working [toward alignment]? Yes,” Daniel said, adding that the expectation is for 2017 criteria and stage 3 requirements to emerge later this year.

“Those are concepts you are going to hear a lot from us,” DeSalvo said. “We are just beginning to seriously evaluate our expectations.”

Article written by Tom Sullivan

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