Event in Louisville, KY to focus on “Meaningful Use” under HITECH

On January 19, 2010, the Greater Louisville Health Enterprises Network together with Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Bluegrass Chapter, will present a panel presentation with discussions surrounding the next steps under the Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health Act (HITECH), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

Expert panelists include:

  • Rick Chapman, CIO, Kindred Healthcare & Member, HITSP Panel
  • Kathie McDonald-McClure, Esq., Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, LLP
  • Joe DeVenuto, CIO, Norton Healthcare

Moderated by Greg Aaron, Past Chapter President Bluegrass HIMSS and Board Member, Health Enterprises Network

Time & Location:

  • 5:30 – 6:00 p.m.  Wine Reception.
  • 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Dinner & Panel Discussion
  • Sheraton Louisville, Riverside, 700 West Riverside Dr., Jeffersonville, IN 47130

Registration Information: $35 members; Tables available $245

To learn more about the Health Enterprises Network, click here.

HHS Office of National Coordinator Announces Reorganization

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Notice in the Federal Register, December 1, 2009, Volume 229, No. 74, that it has reorganized the HHS Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).  The stated purpose of the reorganization was “to more effectively meet the mission outlined by The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).”  The new structure establishes the following five offices that all report to the National Coordinator of the ONC:

  1. Office of Economic Modeling and Analysis;
  2. Office of the Chief Scientist;
  3. Office of the Deputy National Coordinator for Programs & Policy;
  4. Office of the Deputy National Coordinator for Operations; and
  5. Office of the Chief Privacy Officer.

The immediate “Office of the National Coordinator,” which also reports to the ONC National Coordinator, constitutes a sixth component.

Notably, implementing the Office of Chief Privacy Officer is a new role for the ONC.  The primary responsibilities of the Officer of Chief Privacy Officer are twofold: “(1) advising the National Coordinator on privacy, security, and data stewardship of electronic health information and (2) coordinating the [ONC’s] efforts with similar privacy officers in other Federal agencies, State and regional agencies, and foreign countries with regard to the privacy, security, and data stewardship of electronic, individually identifiable health information.” The Chief Privacy Officer will primarily advise the National Coordinator, but also may report to other individuals as necessary.

HHS Letter to State Medicaid Directors Gives Guidance on HITECH’s Medicaid Incentives

On September 1, 2009, CMS issued a letter to State Medicaid Directors to provide initial guidance on state administration of the incentive payments for eligible Medicaid providers who adopt and become meaningful users of electronic health records. These incentives were authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), specifically section 4201 titled Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH). Under the ARRA, HHS is authorized to reimburse states 100% of the incentives paid to eligible providers, and 90% of the state’s planning and implementation expenses incurred to administer the Medicaid incentive program.  The criteria that states must meet, as set forth in this initial guidance, illustrates that states should act promptly to engage in certain, significant planning activities in order to ensure that the ARRA Medicaid incentives can be made available in a timely manner to eligible Medicaid providers in the state.

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HHS and FTC Issue Breach Notification Rules

On August 17, 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued its final rule requiring vendors of “personal health records” to notify consumers when the security of their electronic health information is breached.  On August 19, 2009, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its interim final rule requiring health care providers, health plans, and other entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to notify individuals when their health information is breached. These rules were issued pursuant to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). HITECH required FTC and HHS to collaborate on development of the breach notification rules.  The FTC’s press release and a link to its Breach Notification Rule is available here.  The HHS press release and Breach Notification Rule is available here.  HHS published the Breach Notification Rule in the Federal Register on August 24, 2009.

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IOM Releases Top 100 Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 placed a mandate on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to recommend national priorities for research questions to be addressed by comparative effectiveness research (CER) and supported by the ARRA stimulus funds. Pursuant to this mandate, on June 30, 2009, the IOM released a report, titled Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effective Research (Report).  As described by the IOM, the Report “establishes a working definition of CER, develops a priority list of research topics to be undertaken with ARRA funding using broad stakeholder input, and identifies the necessary requirements to support a robust and sustainable CER enterprise.” 

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