Healthcare Policy & Reform

The week in Government HIT: June 4, 2010

- Tuesday, June 1: A 21% cut to Medicare reimbursements narrowly averted. Doesn’t this happen every year?

Wednesday, June 2: As anticipated, CMS announces the Multi-Payer Advanced Primary Care Practice Demonstration project. This three-year patient-centered medical home (PCMH) project will provide increased Medicare payments to primary care practices that demonstrate advanced capabilities.  Would you like to know more? We also had two more PCMH projects kick off in Ohio and Rhode Island. And did you know that BCBS-Michigan has had a PCMH project for 1,200 physicians for more than a year now?

Thursday, June 3: Some $83.9 million in stimulus funds awarded to community health centers across the country. The money pays for new EMRs and HIT innovation projects in these centers. Check out this press release.

Thursday, June 3: Cost and quality transparency are this century’s healthcare policy game changer. Each in their own way, nearly every provision of PPCPA and HITECH are designed to give healthcare consumers more information about their care. This is neither good nor bad – it’s just the new environment. None of this is possible without health care IT, putting athenahealth and others at the center of the transparency movement. What’s the news? AHRQ releases a new tool called MONAHRQ to help publicize quality data. As described in this statement, MONAHRQ allows hospitals to create a customized quality website with self-reported data. Combined with athenahealth co-founder and current CTO at HHS Todd Park’s data democracy movement, 2010 marks the advent of the future of healthcare.

Thursday, June 3: Also on the topic of transparency, CMS is making progress in the implementation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). They released this FAQ to help the healthcare community understand more about how they plan to implement them. Scheduled start date: Jan 12, 2012. AMGA put together a set of principles that are worth reading.