CMS announces three major changes

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently announced it will begin to implement major changes to electronic health records’ (EHRs) incentive programs such as Meaningful Use and the MIPS Advancing Care Information category. In a speech earlier this month, CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated that CMS wants to focus on interoperability of EHR systems to allow for easy sharing of patient health care data across providers. The agency also wants to streamline evaluation and management documentation and billing requirements to allow doctors to spend more time with their patients and less time entering data.

No timeline was provided for the initiation of these changes. The 2018 criteria for these programs are already in place so any changes will probably not take effect until 2019 at the earliest. Such changes will likely require providers to make sure their EHR systems are updated to allow for data sharing. CMS will also continue its efforts to eliminate data blocking by vendors and health systems.

Another CMS priority is to empower patients by increasing ease of access to personal health care records. CMS has announced a new initiative – MyHealthEData – designed to break down the barriers that prevent patients from obtaining electronic access to their own health records. CMS has also announced the launch of Medicare’s Blue Button 2.0 – a secure way for Medicare beneficiaries to access and share health care information, prescriptions, treatments and procedures with a new doctor. Competing with CMS initiatives are players like Apple that recently announced its intent to create a medical record using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard.

The College Advocacy Council will continue to track these initiatives and keep you informed of any developments.

Advocacy Issue: 
Billing, Coding & Payments