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The Week in Government HIT: June 25, 2010

by Joe Holtschlag, Manager, Government Affairs

-       Monday, June 14: Dr. David Blumenthal posts an article about "change" on his blog. "Resistance to change" is usually the name we give to unsolvable value problems. Physicians don’t find a compelling business reason to adopt an EMR, or at least not one that is worth the considerable risk. Because of the public benefits of quality data and decision support, we would like physicians to digitize. But since legacy EMRs haven’t fixed the value proposition, they complain that physicians are afraid of change. That’s where athenaClinicals comes in. With a focus on revenue, productivity and relieving the burden of quality reporting, we’ve married the public benefit to the physician’s values.

-       Monday, June 21: CMS  launches the official website for Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs. It’s not particularly elegant, but it’s stuffed with helpful overviews and tools. Information on registration, eligible provider definitions, "meaningful use" and spotlights are all included.

-       Thursday, June 24: ONC releases a temporary certification rule for EMR products. Organizations that choose to become Authorized Certification and Testing Bodies (ACTBs) will pay $75,000 for the privilege. CCHIT will not be grandfathered in, and neither will the products that they certified. A permanent certification rule will be released later this year. See Dr. Blumenthal’s blog post, or this summary from the Drummond Group.

-       Friday, June 25: The House passed a six-month fix to the 21% Medicare cut, retroactive to the June 1. But because the Senate is already sitting on 200+ bills from the House, it remains to be seen when it will be reviewed and passed. Medicare has begun processing payments on bills from June 1 with the 21% payment cut, truly a devastating result for physicians and their patients.  For additional reading, see this New York Times overview and commentary from The Health Care Blog.

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