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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants to require health care providers to include “social and behavioral” data in Electronic Health Records (EHR) and to link patient’s records to public health departments, it was announced last week.
Health care experts say the proposal raises additional privacy concerns over Americans’ personal health information, on top of worries that the Obamacare “data hub” could lead to abuse by bureaucrats and identify theft.
The agency said adding social and behavioral data to patients’ online records will improve health care.
“Increasing EHR adoption has the potential to improve health and health care quality,” the contract’s statement of work (SOW) reads. “Parallel advances in analytic tools applied to such records are fueling new approaches to discovering determinants of population health.”
“It’s including more pay for performance requirements on physicians to collect all sorts of data in order to get government reimbursements,” he said.
The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave authority to the CMS to pay hospitals and doctors that make the switch to electronic health records, to “encourage widespread EHR adoption.”
The HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for individually identifiable health information held by covered entities and their business associates and gives patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the Privacy Rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of health information needed for patient care and other important purposes.
Project Duration: 18 months
The approximate start date for the project is July 15, 2013.
The committee will consider the following questions:
1.What specific measures under each domain specified in Phase 1 should be included in EHRs? The committee will examine both data elements and mechanisms for data collection
2. What are the obstacles to adding these measures to the EHR and how can these obstacles be overcome?
3.What are the possibilities for linking EHRs to public health departments, social service agencies, or other relevant non-healthcare organizations? Identify case studies, if possible, of where this has been done and how issues of privacy have been addressed.
Other changes include requiring fast food restaurants to post nutritional information and allowing adult dependents to remain on their parents' insurance plans until age 26. One PPACA change largely overshadowed by the mandate requirement was the electronic medical records mandate. Mandates put in place under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) were reaffirmed and strengthened in PPACA
Under PQRI and PPACA, $27 billion will be directed toward the adoption of EMR technology. The funding for this electronic medical records legislation will be expended over the course of 10 years. At the end of that span, the hope is that the majority of, if not all, practices will have improved efficiency and service through the implementation of electronic medical records.