Congress May Act on EHR Interoperability

 Congress May Act on EHR InteroperabilityMay 28, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

EHR system interoperability has been a goal of the federal government for over a decade. To date, it has not been achieved to the point where patient medical data can be effectively passed to disparate systems when patients change providers or payers.

Interoperability challenges can also create serious concerns for healthcare facilities. Cross Country Staffing suggests healthcare leaders follow the progress of a new bill that may be debated by this session of Congress.  

The House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee convened earlier this month and approved a draft of the 21st Century Cures Act. The bill was then sent forward for mark-up by the full committee. When approved, it will be sent on to Congress. The bill contains a number of healthcare IT proposals, including several relating to EHR system interoperability. You can read the discussion document here.

This draft bill contains a provision to provide the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with $10 million to research the current level of healthcare system interoperability, and then to release a report in July 2016. The report will detail the current degree of interoperability, and the level at which the software developed by EHR vendors is capable of meeting the goal of full system interoperability.

By December 31, 2017, HHS would then be tasked to provide a subsequent report about which EHR vendors’ software is in compliance with specific system certification standards. This would be followed by vendors being required to state that their EHRs comply with numerous interoperability provisions, which includes an HHS standard enabling system-to-system data exchange.

Failure to comply with the HHS standards would be grounds to decertify a vendor’s EHR software. Healthcare facilities using decertified systems would then be ineligible for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments under Meaningful Use, which could lead to serious financial consequences.

Many healthcare facilities have initiatives in place to significantly enhance or replace their current EHR systems. Cross Country Staffing can help. We have developed an electronic patient record staffing solution that addresses the need for qualified temporary staff to streamline such implementations. It is just one of the unique workforce solutions we have to meet your most complex staffing needs. Talk with a Cross Country Staffing representative. We can help you manage every healthcare staffing challenge.

Keywords: EHR interoperability legislation, Congress to review EHR interoperability, meeting federal interoperability goals, EHR interoperability under scrutiny, EHR implementation staffing

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