AMA: What’s the ICD-10 Contingency Plan?
The AMA and about 100 other physician groups urge CMS to develop an ICD-10 contingency plan in the event of a “catastrophic” backlog following the October 1 transition. The organizations want CMS to make public its plans to make advanced payments or reimbursements for services already rendered, work with ONC to ensure EHR systems are ICD-10 ready, and confirm contractors won’t audit for the correct code.
The silver lining here is that these organizations are (finally) not asking for a delay in implementing ICD-10. CMS apparently has drafted a contingency plan in the event of claims process disruptions but does not plan to make it public. In this age of more transparency, CMS needs to make the plan public – even though provider groups will surely find fault with the plan. But, isn’t it better to continue moving the conversation forward, just in case of there is a catastrophe?
One Week EHR Outage Inexcusable
Rideout Memorial Hospital experiences a week-long outage of its McKesson Paragon EHR that was caused by a faulty HVAC at the Yuba City, CA-based hospital. During the outage clinicians had no access to much of their patients’ EHR and some patients had to delay radiation treatments.
Scary to think that in 2015, a 149-bed facility can have such an inadequate disaster recovery process. A week is inexcusable.
In an unrelated incident, Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, CA also experienced an EHR failure that led to the closure of the Antelope’s ED. Members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United have asked the LA County Department of Public Health to investigate.
Senators Criticize ONC; Yaraghi Proposes Solutions
Health Affairs publishes a blog post authored by five Republican senators who are critical of the ONC and its efforts implementing HITECH. The senators cite surveys about the lack of EHR usability and interoperability, despite $28 billion in expenditures.
Brookings Fellow Niam Yaraghi offers a response to the senators, who he believes have unrealistic expectations for the ONC. In terms of advancing interoperability, Yaraghi says that the best approach is through industry-certification alliances and not standardization and certification programs from the ONC.
I’m not convinced that Yaraghi’s industry-led approach will get us to interoperability fast enough without some government intervention. However kudos to Yaraghi for advancing the discussion and offering alternatives, rather than simply criticizing perceived failures.
HIE Benefits Remain Unclear
A study published in Health Affairs finds “little generalizable evidence” that HIEs improve the quality of healthcare. About two-thirds of hospitals and half of physician offices use some type of HIE; a review of previous studies reveals the effect of HIEs were both positive and negative.
The authors also note that previous studies were dated. I remain optimistic that that in time we will see increased benefits from HIEs.
Show Me the Money
- South Carolina’s Greenville Health Services selects Caradigm’s population health solutions.
- The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation will implement Cerner’s EHR.
- Cerner wins a 10-year contract to provide a medication management system to hospitals in New South Wales, Australia.
Wheeling and Dealing
- Healthcare analytics company Definitive Healthcare receives a “significant investment” from Spectrum Equity which will allow the company to double its employee base to about 100.
- Decision Resources Group, a healthcare analytics and advisory firm, acquires Activate Networks, a provider of network analytics for healthcare/life sciences companies.
- GE Ventures and Stanford Health Care launch Evidation Health, an independent company that will help digital health firms test their products in real-world health systems, and measure their impact on cost and clinical outcomes.
- The Electronic Health Record Association appoints NextGen enterprise architect William F. Kinsley as chair of the Privacy and Security Workgroup.
- Corepoint Health introduces a new version of its integration engine that includes enhanced performance, improved data security, and message tracking.
- Mobile health tools can improve patient adherence to chronic disease management of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung diseases, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.