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CMA comments on HHS proposal to reduce health IT burden

Physicians are overwhelmed with unnecessary, burdensome regulations that take time and resources away from providing quality patient care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a draft strategy designed to help reduce administrative and regulatory burden on clinicians caused by the use of health information technology (health IT) such as electronic health records (EHRs). The draft Strategy on Reducing Regulatory and Administrative Burden Relating to the Use of Health IT and EHRs was led by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology ...

Blue Shield CEO addresses California physicians on digital health efforts

Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield California, on Friday addressed the California Medical Association’s (CMA) Board of Trustees, to discuss the payor’s initiatives to develop new health care technologies including sharable digital patient records and electronic claims among other initiatives. Markovich told the CMA trustees that Blue Shield was seeking to reduce administrative costs significantly over the next three years to help support investment in numerous digital efforts. Blue Shield and CMA announced in June a new, multi-year collaboration to develop and support a new health care model that ...

CMA submits comments on Meaningful Use Stage 3 to CMS

On May 29, the California Medical Association (CMA) submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on the Meaningful Use Stage 3 notice of proposed rulemaking. Under the federal electronic health records (EHR) incentive programs, qualifying Medicare and Medi-Cal providers are eligible to receive incentive payments for adopting and demonstrating “meaningful use” of certified health information technology (HIT). The proposed rule, published in the Federal Register on March 30, specifies the final stage of meaningful use criteria that eligible ...

CalHIPSO seeks physicians to sign up for free practice transformation assistance

The California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization (CalHIPSO) is applying for a grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to give California physicians access to free health practice improvement tools and services that would normally be cost prohibitive. The California Medical Association was a founding member of CalHIPSO, which was established in 2009 as a federally designated Regional Extension Center to provide education, outreach and technical assistance to help physicians select and implement electronic health records. To win this grant, CalHIPSO must show commitment and interest ...

Anthem and Blue Shield to partner in the creation of California's largest health information exchange

Two of California's largest health insurers – Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California are investing a total of $80 million to develop a not-for-profit health information exchange database called Cal INDEX, which is expected to go live in November. It is expected to house the medical records of 9 million patients, about a quarter of California’s population. The initial $80 million stake will get the exchange through the first three years, the insurers said. After that, they expect funding will come from participating health plans and providers who ...

HHS releases security risk assessment tool to help providers with HIPAA compliance

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released a new tool to help guide health care providers in small to medium sized practices conduct information security risk assessments of their organizations.   The tool, available at www.HealthIT.gov, is the result of a collaborative effort by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and Office for Civil Rights (OCR). It is designed to help practices conduct and document a risk assessment in a thorough, organized fashion at their own pace by allowing them to ...

Are you using Windows XP? You may need to upgrade

Physician offices using Windows XP should be aware that Microsoft will no longer be providing support for Windows XP after April 8, 2014. This means that updates, bug fixes, security patches and troubleshooting will not be available for systems operating Windows XP, making such systems vulnerable to security risks.   While the California Medical Association (CMA) has received concerns from physicians who are being told that they will be in "automatic violation of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)" for using Windows XP after April 8, the HIPAA security ...

HHS develops toolkit to help physicians prepare for online communication with patients

The California Health and Human Services Agency (HHS) has developed a toolkit to help medical practices prepare for online patient communications through an electronic health record (EHR) portal, personal health record, mobile app, secure messaging or other electronic means.   Data indicates that patients who use health information technologies may be more efficient users of health care resources, better managers of their health behaviors and feel more satisfied with the health care system.   The free toolkit, "Preparing for Online Communication with Your Patients," provides checklists and worksheets to help offices collect and ...

Deadlines loom for Medi-Cal EHR Incentive Program

The deadline for providers to apply for Medi-Cal electronic health records (EHR) incentive payments the 2013 program year is March 31, 2014. After that date, the State Level Registry (SLR) will no longer accept 2013 applications. For the 2014 program year, providers who are attesting to adopting, implementing or upgrading certified EHRs can currently apply to the SLR for 2014 program year incentive payments. However, the SLR is currently unable to accept applications from providers attesting to meaningful use for 2014. The SLR will not begin accepting 2014 meaningful use ...

Did you know you can request reconsideration if you're getting dinged with a 2% Medicare eRx penalty?

Physicians and group practices who were not successful electronic prescribers under the 2012 or 2013 Medicare eRx Incentive Program will be subject to a negative payment adjustment of 2 percent in 2014 on all Medicare Part B claims paid under the physician fee schedule.   The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has notified physicians and group practices that did not meet the requirements and will be subject to the 2014 payment adjustment. Some practices have reported that their meaningful use attestation was not taken into consideration as an exemption. ...