MACRA: Advancing Care Information

MACRA was signed into legislation by Congress in April 2015. One year later, HHS issued the MACRA proposed rule, which will become known as the Quality Payment Program (comments on rule are due in late June). The goal is to move away from fee-for-service to value-based rewards and incentives: Paying for what works to help improve patient engagement, population health management, and slows expenditures.

CMS wants to improve interoperability, expand MU program flexibility and create more user-friendly technology for physicians/clinicians to engage and help patients. Advancing Care Information is the new name for a new/more flexible Meaningful Use. Here's a look at what will change. (Source: HIMSS)

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Calling All Developers: HHS Wants Your Ideas

Last week, we told you about a new design challenge HHS put out asking for new ideas on how to make medical billing easier to understand and navigate. Now, we're learning about a new competition aimed at making it possible to securely transferring medical records. HHS is asking developers to create their own APIs and test them on individuals they've recruited and who have agreed to release their health data. Submissions are being accepted until early September. Click the image to learn more or read HHS' announcement here.

 

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HHS Issues Design and Innovation Challenge

HHS announced a new design and innovation challenge to create a medical bill that's easier to understand.  A recent Mad*Pow survey reported 61% of patients find their medical bills to be "confusing" or "very confusing" to read and understand. From the 7th annual Health Datapalooza, HHS Secretary Burwell rolled out "A Bill You Can Understand," a call for new innovative ways to make a medical bill simpler, cleaner, and easier for patients to understand. HHS is also seeking ideas to improve the overall medical billing process and experience for patients. The challenge is sponsored by AARP and open now until August 10. Winners will be announced at the 10th Annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference on September 25-28 in Santa Clara, CA. Visit www.abillyoucanunderstand.com to learn more about the challenge, how to apply and prizes.

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DHA Confirms: GSA for All IT Acquisitions

In a recent memo, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) confirmed it will contract all of its health IT needs solely through the General Services Administration (GSA). Earlier this year, DHA and GSA hosted an industry day discussing the creation and use of a new Health IT special item number (SIN). That solicitation is slated to be released later this month. You can learn more from our Q&A and primer with Federal Schedules about how to prepare for the new GSA Health IT SIN.

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US Coast Guard Reverts to Old Paper-Based System

The US Coast Coast cancelled its $14M EHR contract with EPIC, and without a backup plan in place is having to rely on using a paper-based records system. Agency spokespeople said they ended the contract due to "various irregularities;" Politico reports a series of blunders and missteps since the program began more than five years ago. Quality of care is not being affected, reported by the US Coast Guard, but there is also no clarity on the way forward.

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We're at #HIMSS16

HIMSS officially kicks off today with HHS secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell keynoting. This year's agenda is loaded with Federal health IT speakers and topics--what are you most interested in? Follow along with us, Black Branch is on the ground and will be live tweeting all week. We're also volunteering in the Interoperability Showcase, so come by to say hello and check out all of the new innovations. 

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How to Survive #HIMSSanity 2016

More than 43,000 health IT professionals are expected in Las Vegas next week for this year's annual HIMSS Conference. With more than 1,300 exhibitors and 300 education sessions taking place on three levels spanning 1.3M (million!) square feet, how do you navigate swiftly and with purpose? Healthcare IT News (part of HIMSS Media) has some tips to get you ready and keep you sane while you're there. 

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