fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

FAH Applauds Bipartisan, Bicameral Health IT Bill

April 20, 2016 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: FAH News, HIT

The Federation of American Hospitals sent a letter of support to lawmakers after the introduction of the Flexibility in Electronic Health Record (EHR) Reporting Act. The bill, which is bipartisan and bicameral, will give health care providers greater flexibility in adopting health information technology.

In the letter FAH President and CEO Chip Kahn expressed his appreciation to the legislators and explained why this is so important to patient care.

“Hospitals are committed to using health information technology to deliver effective, high quality, care for their patients,” Kahn wrote. “Last year, CMS made changes to the Meaningful Use program in the Modified Stage 2 final rule, recognizing the need for eligible hospitals to continue evaluating technology that will improve usability. While this rule provided welcome relief to the hospital community, it did not address the need for providers to report on a 90 day basis for 2016. 90 day reporting will allow providers to modify and improve existing health information technology systems, while reducing interruptions to workflows.”

The EHR Incentive Payments program was established by the HITECH Act in 2009 to incentivize hospitals and physicians to adopt and demonstrate the “meaningful use” (MU) of EHRs. Currently, providers are required to show data from the past year to meet the program’s objectives. CMS shortened the time period for 2015 to just 90 days. The Flexibility in Electronic Health Record Reporting Act would extend that 90 day requirement through 2016.

FAH, lawmakers and other stakeholders agree that shortening the reporting period would give physicians and hospitals more time and flexibility to participate in the program while working through the technology delays and measures CMS has instituted.

The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO). The House version of the legislation was co-sponsored by Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), and Ron Kind (D-WI).