CMS now posting public health, registry EHR readiness data

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has developed a centralized repository for public health, clinical data and specialized registry electronic reporting options to help eligible hospitals and professionals comply with Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements.

The repository has been anticipated for almost five years. In the agency’s final rule for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, which was released September 2012, CMS said it would create such a centralized repository. And, in a subsequent May 2014 notice, the agency indicated that the database would serve as the “definitive information source” for determining public health agency and registry readiness to receive electronic data associated with MU objectives.

Now, the agency has fulfilled it promise to make the information publicly available on its website.

However, according to CMS, the information contained in the centralized repository—collected in September and October 2016—is “not the authoritative source” of all reporting options currently available.” In addition, the agency notes that “participation in the repository by public health agencies, clinical data registries and specialized registries is voluntary.”

In 2014, the American Hospital Association had urged CMS to promptly create its website to provide a centralized repository on public health readiness to electronically receive the data hospitals must submit under the Meaningful Use program.

Also See: AHA urges public health EHR readiness registry

By establishing a single central repository of information and eliminating multiple individual inquiries to multiple public health agencies and registries, AHA contends that CMS has greatly reduced the burden on providers to acquire accurate public health readiness information.

“This long-awaited tool will help hospitals and physicians understand how ready public health agencies are to receive public health reporting data electronically,” says Marie Watteau, AHA’s vice president of media relations and digital media. “Public health reporting is a Meaningful Use requirement, but agencies across the country have varying abilities to accept the data.”

To satisfy Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, hospitals must determine the readiness of local public health agencies and registries to receive electronic submissions of public health data, and send data electronically to those agencies and registries that are ready. CMS provides an exception to its requirements for hospitals and other providers when specific public health agencies are unable to receive the data.

Nonetheless, when it comes to the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, the CMS website states that the “absence of an entry on the CMS Centralized Repository is not sufficient documentation for claiming an exclusion and does not prevent a provider from attesting to reporting to a registry.”

Further, the agency warns that providers “must still check with jurisdictional public health agencies or specialty societies to which they belong and document that information to satisfy Medicare or Medicaid reporting.”

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