Thursday, November 20, 2014

CMS Names Niall Brennan First Chief Data Officer

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced the formation of the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA) which will be led by Niall Brennan, the agency’s first Chief Data Officer (CDO), and tasked with overseeing improvements in data collection and dissemination as the agency strives to be more transparent. OEDA will help CMS better harness its vast data resources to guide decision-making and develop frameworks promoting appropriate external access to and use of data to drive higher quality, patient-centered care at a lower cost.

CMS collects a wealth of data that is critical to decision making for the agency and other stakeholders in the nation’s health care system. CMS generates data administering the Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP programs. In addition, new responsibilities, including stewardship of the EHR Incentive Programs, more expansive quality measurement programs, and the establishment of the Health Insurance Marketplaces, have expanded the scope of data that CMS collects. As CMS works to shift the focus from volume of services to better health outcomes for patients, coordinating care, and spending dollars more wisely, the need for CMS to analyze data across its multiple programs and provide greater access to this data, whether in granular or aggregate form, will only intensify.

“It’s clear how much data transparency will help the country improve outcomes, control costs and aid consumer decision making,” said CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Andy Slavitt. “This appointment signals to the industry that there is no turning back from the health care data agenda. Niall Brennan will help make sure CMS leads the way.”

The creation of this new post and the data and analytics office  builds on the steps CMS has taken in recent years to better harness its data resources both internally and externally. CMS is now routinely analyzing claims data in real time and applying predictive analytics to proactively identify fraud and abuse and track key metrics such as hospital readmissions. Accountable Care Organizations and State Medicaid agencies receive monthly near real-time feeds of Medicare data to support care coordination. CMS has launched the Virtual Research Data Center to facilitate lower cost access to CMS data for researchers and federal grantees. CMS has also released numerous public use datasets; the most notable releases to date include the release of data on hospital charges and physician utilization in 2013 and 2014.

“Our commitment to transparency is matched by our commitment to keeping personal information safeguarded. We can't expect to advance health outcomes unless we also ensure that our policies and practices around data privacy are leading the way,” said Slavitt. “We look forward to building on the success of recent releases, providing a clearer picture of the health care delivery system.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Politico reports that health IT company Iatric Systems, Inc. has announced its integration with Apple Health to pull patient data into HealthKit and present it from inpatient, ambulatory and patient-generated sources. The "EHR-neutral" approach will link data from records, physician practices and other health IT software, according to an announcement from Iatric. Iatric envisions that patients will help hospitals with meaningful use requirements--especially view, download and transmit.

Two hospitals are currently using Iatric for integration with Apple Health - Michigan's Memorial Healthcare and King's Daughters Medical Center in Mississippi. "We envision our patients using Apple Health easily because for many, the iPhone is already a main part of their lives, said Frank Fear, CIO at Memorial Healthcare, in the announcement. "We could have integrated Apple Health within a portal from our EHR vendor or ambulatory system vendor, but data from disparate systems sits in silos. Iatric Systems was a natural fit because their portal integrates across all of our systems, giving us one tool for capturing and sending data to patients, and eventually, receiving data back from them."

For more information visit Politico here

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Politico Reports: ONC Releases Meaningful Use Stage 2 Attestation Rates

Attestation rates for Stage 2 of meaningful use remained low at the end of September, according to data released ahead of today's Health IT Policy Committee meeting. The figures, contained as footnotes in an ONC data analytics update, show that 4,656 doctors and other eligible providers and 258 hospitals had attested to Stage 2. This is an increase over the end of August but still only a rounding error out of 480,000-plus eligible providers and hospitals. The low figures reflect problems that electronic health records vendors and providers have had achieving Stage 2. 

CMS relaxed the rules on reporting Stage 2 attestation earlier in the year, and provider groups have been pressing to reduce the one-year reporting period to 90 days in 2015. We have a feeling that a GOP-controlled Congress may try to do something about this.

ONC's analysis of the Sept. 30 attestation data showed disappointing levels of accomplishment in meeting some of the most important categories of Stage 2. For example, 87 percent of eligible providers who attested to Stage 2 received exclusions from showing they could electronically send summaries of care. Of those who did not receive exclusions, only 18 percent were able to send electronic summaries 80 percent of the time or more. A total of 55 percent were able to file summaries electronically 30 percent or less of the time. Scores for the "view, download or transmit" category, a measure of physicians' capacity to share data with patients, were even worse. Although 65 percent of the attesters' patients had online access to records, only 10 percent of these providers were able to get patients to download their records more than half the time.

A similarly small percentage sent patient reminders on a regular basis. In its analysis of hospitals, ONC found that only 10 percent got out electronic care summaries to patients more than half the time, and less than 15 percent were able to get more than 20 percent of their patients to view, download or transmit their records. However, as ONC pointed out, the figures represented a somewhat improved picture from analyses it did over the summer.

Many individuals are concerned about the privacy of their medical records, but that doesn't keep most of them from giving information to health care providers, according to survey results to be released at the meeting. In a survey of more than 2,000 people conducted in 2012-13 for ONC, 75 percent were "very or somewhat concerned" about the privacy of information in EHRs. But only eight percent said those concerns would cause them to withhold information from health care providers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Free Interactive Webinar: Ebola in the U.S. & the Role of Patient Access

Ebola in the U.S. & the Role of Patient Access 
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at Noon EST

With the ongoing national news coverage surrounding the Ebola virus, your facility's leadership team may be implementing new screening protocols, and asking you to provide them with an immediate plan of action. What do you do? Where do you start?

Join NAHAM for this interactive webinar and explore how other organizations and facilities are tackling basic plan development in crisis situations, including ebola. 

Areas of discussion will include: 
Complying with CDC requirements
Integrating with infection control areas
Alleviating employee anxiety with targeted communication tips and tricks
Recommendations on quickly implementing your plan

This webinar will include time for participant discussion, providing you with an opportunity to learn best practices and examine the challenges in implementing a plan. If you have any specific questions you would like answered, please email us. 

This webinar is free of charge for all participants. Register now, and learn what you need to know to keep your facility up to speed on the Ebola virus.

Stacy Calvaruso
Assistant Vice President, Patient Access, Ochsner Health System
Stacy is a Healthcare A/R Executive with over 24 years of progressive experience in both private and public sectors. Prior to joining Ochsner Health System, Stacy was the key developer/owner/operator of an organization that evolved from a small PFS A/R consulting and interim staffing organization, to a large national service center in the Urgent Care industry. Stacy’s current role with Ochsner includes managing over 600 FTEs dedicated to front line Patient Access service. She has held board positions for HFMA, NAHAM, UCBCA, as well as a Community Hospital in Louisiana.

Brenda Sauer
Director, Patient Access, New York Presbyterian Hospital
Brenda Sauer, RN, MA, CHAM, FHAM is Director of Patient Access at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, NY. She has held several board positions in NAHAM on both the local and national level; she is currently the Immediate Past President of NAHAM. Recently, she was named a Fellow in Healthcare Access Management. She has spoken on several topics including: Health Care Reform, patient privacy, disaster preparedness, patient throughput initiatives, and leadership for various organizations on the local, regional, and national level.

Join Webinar TODAY at 2pm EST: Enhancing the Revenue Cycle Experience for Patients

Enhancing the Revenue Cycle Experience for Patients 
October 29, 2014

Webinar Information: TODAY
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Eastern
NAHAM Contact Hours: 1
Register Now 

Join NAHAM for a special patient experience webinar focused on front-end strategies to improve the revenue cycle experience for patients. Industry thought leaders from Texas Health Resources will review strategic initiatives for patient access leaders to further engage patients in their care experience – beginning before they enter the hospital’s front door. The session will present key strategies and related outcomes in patient satisfaction, staff performance and upfront patient collections. 

Patricia Consolver, CHAM
Senior Director, Patient Access Services
Texas Health Resources Scott Phillips, CHAM
Senior Director, Patient Access Services
Texas Health Resources

Register now and learn how to reduce registration times, increase point-of-service collections, and increase patient satisfaction! NAHAM members will enjoy free access to this live webinar, just one of the perks of NAHAM membership. For all non-members, the cost to attend this webinar is $35.

Join NAHAM Webinar: Developing Patient Access Leaders for Tomorrow

Developing Patient Access Leaders for Tomorrow 
November 11, 2014

Join NAHAM for our monthly webinar and hear a detailed account of how WellSpan Health’s Patient Access Department instituted an internal leadership development program to prepare for growth and succession in their rapidly growing Access departments. From conception and development to the inaugural program and its evolution over time, experience a detailed dissection of the various elements of the program, aimed at cultivating our leaders for tomorrow.

The webinar will: 

Describe how WellSpan Health's rapid growth drove the need for an internal leadership development program, and how that program was implemented and molded.

Detail the various elements of the leadership development program, including what worked, what didn't and what has changed over time.

Discuss the challenges and successes of the leadership development program, including lessons learned, success stories, facilitation, participation, and relevance.

Register now and learn how to reduce registration times, increase point-of-service collections, and increase patient satisfaction! NAHAM members will enjoy free access to this live webinar, just one of the perks of NAHAM membership. For all non-members, the cost to attend this webinar is $35.

Date: November 11, 2014
Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST
Presented by: Lisa Woods, Manager of Access Operations, WellSpan Health
NAHAM Contact Hours: 1
Register Here 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

ICD-10 Transition Date Finalized for October 2015

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced last week that the final deadline to comply with the ICD-10 implementation requirement is October 1, 2015. The tenth edition of the International Classification of Diseases is widely viewed as a significant change in the way claims that are submitted to Medicare and private insurance payers are classified. 

These changes enable providers to coordinate patients care over distance and time, improve the accuracy of patient records with more detailed patient history coding, and reduce fraudulent claims. CMS also believes that the ICD-10's granular classifications will improve the data and analytics related to public health research, surveillance, and reporting. The more specific classifications found in ICD-10 represent, in part, the evolution of diagnosis and the modern developments in medicine and medical technology used to treat patients. 

CMS released an online resource designed to help providers in small practices make a timely transition to ICD-10. The "Road to 10" is an online resource available here. The  Road to 10 breaks allows providers to select a profile based on their expertise that is specifically tailored to each speciality's common codes, clinical documentation procedures, and clinical scenarios. Additionally, the Road to 10 gives users the opportunity to create an ICD implementation action plan specifically suited to the needs of their small practices.