HMT: Docs and Stage 2 Meaningful Use, CMS gets new CIO, Doctors sue Medicaid
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Health Management Technology News
January 20, 2014
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In this issue:

Few docs ready for Stage 2 'Meaningful Use'

CMS names new senior executives

Doctors sue NC over Medicaid billing system

High Security risk found after launch

Do you have what it takes to be considered “tech savvy?”

Few docs ready for Stage 2 'Meaningful Use'

Roughly one physician in eight has an electronic health record (EHR) system capable of supporting most requirements for Stage 2 of the "meaningful use" program, a government survey found.

Only 13% of office-based physicians reported an intention to participate in the EHR incentive program and had a system meeting 14 of the 17 Stage 2 core objectives, according to a report released this week from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

About 56% of all physicians intended to participate in the EHR incentive program but didn't meet the core objectives the NCHS asked about.

"Meaningful use" refers to provisions in the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which authorized incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid to clinicians and hospitals that use electronic health records in a meaningful way that significantly improves clinical care...

Read the full KHIT article here

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CMS names new senior executives

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is refilling its senior executive ranks.

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced in an email to staff obtained by Federal News Radio that Tim Love will become the chief operating officer, replacing Michele Snyder, who retired in December.

Tavenner also announced Dave Nelson will become the CMS chief information officer and director of the Office of Information Services. Nelson replaces Tony Trenkle, who left in November to join IBM. Tavenner said Love has served in a host of leadership positions over the last 22 years at CMS, including most recently as the deputy COO.

"His breadth of experience in the agency's policy, operations and business support components make him ideally suited to serve as COO," Tavenner said in the note to staff.

Nelson joined CMS 10 years ago and served in an assortment of positions, including most recently as director of the Office of Enterprise Management and acting CIO.

Read the full Federal News Radio article here

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Doctors sue NC over Medicaid billing system

Doctors are suing the state, a software vendor and consultants over the troubled Medicaid claims system, saying that complications and errors resulted in financial losses and harm to patients.

The medical practices are suing the state Department of Health and Human Services, Computer Sciences Corp., which built and is operating the system, SLI Global Solutions, a company hired to test the software, and Maximus Consulting Services, which provided independent reviews.

Seven medical practices filed the suit Thursday in Wake County Superior Court. They ask to be certified as a class, saying a majority of the state’s 70,000 Medicaid providers suffered damages that should be recovered.

NC Tracks’ flaws have been chronicled in state audits, news reports and medical workers’ comments at legislative hearings. The NC Tracks system was trouble almost as soon as the state started using it on July 1.

“The proof of CSC’s wrongdoing was the disastrous state of the software upon go-live,” the lawsuit says. “Medicaid providers experienced hundreds of problems with NC Tracks, and the system could not reliably perform its core function of processing reimbursement claims.”

CSC said in a statement that the lawsuit is baseless.

“We believe the lawsuit against CSC is without merit, and CSC will defend it vigorously,” the company said in a statement.

Efforts to replace the previous claims-paying system proceeded in fits and starts over the last 10 years. The state dropped one contractor, settled a lawsuit with that company and rebid the work. CSC won the job in December 2008, but the project was delayed and over budget. The state is paying CSC $484 million for its work building the system and to run it until 2020.

State Auditor Beth Wood has released audits critical of the system. One released last year before the state started using NC Tracks questioned the testing regimen. An audit released in December said the system had more than 3,200 defects since July 1, and more than 600 had not been fixed by Nov. 5. In its response, DHHS said NC Tracks had fewer defects than the industry average for software systems of its complexity.

DHHS said Thursday that it would not comment on a pending lawsuit, but sent a statement from its IT chief and a fact sheet emphasizing the system’s merits.

“As with any implementation of an IT system of this size and complexity, the transition has not been without challenges,” DHHS computer systems chief Joe Cooper said in a statement. “To date, the new system has processed more than 104 million claims and paid more than $5.5 billion to North Carolina healthcare providers, out-performing the 35-year old system it replaced. DHHS continues to address provider issues as they arise.”

Read the full news article here

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High Security risk found after launch

A top security officer told Congress there have been two, serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch, including one on Monday of this week, CBS News has learned.

Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), revealed the findings when she was interviewed Tuesday behind closed doors by House Oversight Committee officials. The security risks were not previously disclosed to members of Congress or the public. Obama administration officials have firmly insisted there’s no reason for any concern regarding the website’s security.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded to questions about the security findings in a statement that said, "in one case, what was initially flagged as a high finding was proven to be false. In the other case, we identified a piece of software code that needed to be fixed and that fix is now in place. Since that time, the feature has been fully mitigated and verified by an independent security assessment, per standard practice."

According to federal standards set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the potential impact of a high finding is “the loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability could be expected to have a severe or catastrophic adverse effect on organizational operations, organizational assets, or individuals.”

Details are not being made public for security reasons but Fryer testified that one vulnerability in the system was discovered during testing last week related to an incident reported in November. She says that as a result, the government has shut down functionality in the vulnerable part of the system. Fryer said the other high-risk finding was discovered Monday.

Read the full CBS News article here

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Do you have what it takes to be considered “tech savvy?”

For the last 34 years Health Management Technology has been exploring and chronicling the growth and development of computers and other technologies used in healthcare organizations to provide high-quality patient care.

This year we’d like to shine a klieg light on those hospitals, hospital systems and integrated delivery networks (IDNs) that make optimal decisions about the tech they need and want (in that order) and use it effectively and efficiently. We’re not just looking to recognize those organizations with deep pockets and a fiscal war chest that allows them to stock up on all the latest tools and toys. Instead, we’re looking to recognize those facilities that make optimal use of the tech they have – leaving few capabilities ever untouched – whether large or small, cash-full or cash-strapped.

What makes a provider organization “tech savvy?” What they’re doing and why they matter in the areas of cost-conscious, efficiency-driven, clinically motivated and patient-centric concepts, ideas and activities that can generate quality outcomes.

Here’s where we need your help. Within your organization or within your customer base, who’s using technology and how are they using it to do top-notch, innovative work? We plan to publish mini-profiles of these organizations in HMT’s March 2014 edition, relying on your nominations.

1. If you were to look at your current customer/membership roster, what are the top five hospital, hospital system and/or IDN organizations you’d recommend we consider for this list? (Please provide the organization name, city, state and proper contact information, including name, title, email and telephone number, for each of the five organizations you nominate.)

2. For each of your recommendations, please highlight a few bullet points and/or sentences why you believe this organization’s operation measures up to being “tech savvy.”

We’re going to collect the recommendations and evaluate them based on their “nominations.” Please note that you or your organization will not be identified as nominating the organization, but if a number of your organizations make the list you’ll certainly earn some bragging rights. At the end of the “official” list we will ask readers to submit organization names that should have been on the list and that we should consider for the 2015 compilation.

Please submit your recommendations to HMT via email no later than Monday, January 20.

Feel free to pool as many folks within your organization for recommendations as you’d like. As always, we appreciate your help and insights and look forward to sharing them with our valued readers.


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