By Tony Schueth, CEO and Managing Partner
The world of health IT was buzzing this week in the wake of a massive rule drop by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). ONC published its long-awaited proposed rule on interoperability and information blocking. Simultaneously, CMS issued a related proposed rule aimed at making claims and other health information available to patients through application programming interfaces. We will be publishing our thoughts on them soon, so stay tuned.
That said, we shouldn’t overlook the guidance issued by the federal government toward the end of 2018 that will affect electronic prescribing (ePrescribing) and electronic health records (EHRs). The requirements were put forth as legislation, proposed rules or as a memorandum to Medicare Part D plan sponsors.
H.R.6 mandates ePrescribing for controlled substances covered under Medicare Part D and ePA for all covered Part D drugs requiring prior authorization.
Here’s what happened at the end of 2018.
HHS’ action to rescind the two standards was taken in response to recommendations by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics in 2014 and follow-up input by stakeholders. According to HHS, the identifiers do not add value to electronic health care transactions and would be “costly, complicated and burdensome” to implement. In addition, the industry already has moved on, developing other ways to route claims and other HIPAA transactions using existing payer IDs. Comments are due February 19, so the final rule should be out in early summer. Payers and providers should be happy with HHS’ action, as they have opposed use of the standards for decades. Providers were particularly unhappy about the prospect of using HPIDs, noting that their health information technology systems were programmed to identify payers rather than plans. We wonder whether CMS’ action signals the need for HHS to update HIPAA standards and operating rules to reflect regulatory and market developments. Such a reboot would definitely have implications for ePrescribing as well as EHRs.
Point-of-Care Partners is closely monitoring these and other legislative developments. We’d be happy to walk you through them and help you with comment submission. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.