What do the Physician Quality Reporting Incentives Program (PQRI) and Hospital Inpatient Value Based Purchasing (VBP) Program have in common with the recently released proposed regulation for establishing an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)? Answer: The meaningful use measures established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) for qualifying for incentives under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH). Of course!
On April 7, 2011, CMS published the Proposed Rule on Medicare Shared Savings Program: Accountable Care Organizations in the Federal Register. The Proposed Rule sets forth the requirements that an ACO must meet in order to qualify for the cost savings that will be available to qualifying providers. Among the requirements, CMS incorporates the EHR meaningful use incentives, stating:
[T]he ACO should have a process in place (or clear path to develop such a process) to electronically exchange summary of care information when patients transition to another provider or setting of care, both within and outside the ACO, consistent with meaningful use requirements under the EHR Incentive program.
Now Medicare providers have another reason to get on board sooner rather than later with the implementation of a certified electronic health record (EHR).
Stay tuned to the HITECH Law Blog for a post that will have a more in-depth review of how the ACO requirements may impact providers in regard to the implementation and use of certified EHRs, including a review of the overlapping measures for PQRI, Hospital VBP Programs, HITECH EHR incentives and ACOs. In the meantime, to read more about the HITECH meaningful use measures utilized in the CMS Hospital VPB Program, see the article, “Certified EHRs Expected to Transmit Data for Medicare’s New Hospital Inpatient Value-Based Purchasing Program,” posted to the HITECH Law Blog on February 8, 2011.