While rural hospitals have gotten the lion’s share of the attention in problems involving exchanging patient information via both electronic and non-electronic means, small urban hospitals are also still fighting to catch up, says the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
In 2015, about 90 percent of medium-size and large hospitals could send care records through electronic and non-electronic means, and 71 percent could receive records those ways.
But only 80 percent of small urban hospitals could send information electronically and non-electronically, and just 58 percent could receive data through both mediums. For critical-access hospitals, those numbers were worse — 78 percent and 56 percent, respectively.
Vindell Washington, M.D., ONC’s principal deputy national coordinator, said in a blog post that the hospital sector should conduct more analysis to understand those gaps and says that ONC is “committed to ensuring that all hospitals have secure access to health information when and where it is needed.”
To read a FierceHealthcare article on this, please hit this link.
Here’s one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s “Things to Know” features — this one has seven things to know about Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s stand on healthcare issues.
1. Sen. Kaine supports the Affordable Care Act.
2. However, Sen. Kaine says more fixes to the ACA are needed.
3. Addressing the opioid crisis is a top priority for Senator Kaine. .
4. He is also positioning himself as a champion of preventive care.
5. Senator Kaine supports a woman’s right to choose.
6. He has a substantial background in health IT.
7. Senator Kaine supports allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
For details, please hit this link.
Catholic Health Initiatives’ headquarters.
Fitch Ratings has cut the credit rating of Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives by three notches, citing the integrated health system’s weakening finances. Meanwhile, A.M. Best Co. downgraded the rating of CHI’s health-insurance subsidiary.
Fitch said the big system is struggling “to rein in the losses throughout a substantial part of its operations.”
CHI reported that in the first nine months of the current fiscal year it had a net loss of $568.1 million. Health IT costs, investment losses and troubles with its health insurance company spearheaded the massive deficit. CHI’s credit rating from Fitch, which covers $6 billion of outstanding debt, was cut to BBB+ from A+.
Modern Healthcare reported that Fitch believes CHI “may need two to three years to fully implement its financial-turnaround plan. “High labor and supply costs, as well as difficult collections from the rising number of patients with high-deductible health plans, pose additional challenges for the hospital system, Fitch analysts said,” Modern Healthcare reported.
To read a Modern Healthcare article on CHI’s troubles, please hit this link.
Here are seven things to know from Becker’s Hospital Review about CMS’s new primary-care initiative that seeks to help practices transition to value-based primary care. It’s called the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus model (CPC+). “Participating practices will be in one of two tracks. In both tracks, practices receive upfront incentive payments that they will either keep or repay based on performance and quality metrics,” Becker’s says.
2. “Practices in both tracks are required to use certified health IT to allow remote access to the EHR, allow 24/7 access to the EHR for the care team members with real-time access, report on electronic clinical quality measures and generate quality reports.
3. “However, there is a heavier emphasis in Track 2 on leveraging health IT to achieve healthcare delivery changes. ‘The care delivery CMS expects in Track 2 is reliant upon the use of advanced health IT capabilities that practices will need to attain through EHR enhancements or by adding or securing additional health IT services/tools,’ according to CMS. ‘Thus practices will engage their vendors to support the attainment and optimization of health IT to meet the goals and objectives of practice transformation.’
4. “‘The IT requirements pertaining specifically to Track 2 include adopting IT certified to ‘Care Plan’ and ‘Social, Behavioral and Psychological Data’ criteria as identified in the certified EHR technology definitions in the Medicare EHR Incentive program.
5. “Track 2 participants will be expected to leverage health IT capabilities that are not always available in current platforms or are not required for ONC certification. Some of these capabilities include risk-stratifying patient populations and identifying patients with complex needs; producing and displaying eCQM results at the practice level; assessing patient’s psychosocial needs; establishing a patient-focused care plan to guide care management; and documenting and tracking patient-reported outcomes.
“As such, practices in this track will work with vendors to develop and optimize functions to support clinical objectives. ‘CMS will not prescribe how the health IT enhancement is accomplished, rather only that the health IT solution meets the CPC objective for use of the health IT by the CPC practice site team,’ according to CMS.
6. “Furthermore, vendors of Track 2 participants will provide a ‘Letter of Support’ to the CPC+ practice indicating they are willing to support the practice in the initiative if the practice is selected for participation. If the practice is selected for participation, the vendor will enter a memorandum of understanding with CMS outlining their commitment to support the practices in reaching the goals of the initiative. CMS will not pay vendors for their involvement in CPC+.
7. “All health IT enhancements are expected to be completed within 24 months of the January 2017 program launch.”
The Advisory Board Company looks at how the Federal Communications Commission’s decision on ”net neutrality” will affect the healthcare sector. Among the reactions:
“Mike Putnam—senior vice president of American Well, a telehealth provider—said he supports FCC’s net neutrality rules, noting his company has seen an increase in provider visits over mobile networks since releasing an app that enables patients to speak with doctors through the video functions on their phones.
“Matthew Douglass, vice president of Practice Fusion, praised the decision, saying ‘Reclassification of [Internet service providers] under Title II ensures that product features, pricing, and functionality are the drivers of innovation and choice in our healthcare technology market, unimpeded by whether a new company can simply afford to reach their customers.'”
“Ryan Radai of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said FCC’s plans to regulate mobile networks will be counterproductive for technologies that rely on high-speed Internet.”
“IT Now Executive Director Joel White described the rules as ‘unprecedented and dangerous.’ He said his organization ‘fears that hampering the Internet economy with heavy handed regulations will slow the development and expansion of new innovative medical technologies that rely on broadband.”‘