The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) provides financial incentives to encourage the use of electronic health records (EHR). The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are implementing incentive programs for eligible health care professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to adopt, implement or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Included in the strategies for demonstrating “meaningful use” of the EHR systems are three objectives related to public health: submission of immunization registry data, submission of syndromic surveillance data and submission of reportable laboratory findings.
Hospitals and eligible providers are required to meet at least one of the public health-related meaningful use objectives during Stage 1.
Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is interested in working with providers on all the public-health related meaningful use objectives. VDH is currently able to receive electronic submissions for the three public health-related objectives and is actively working with hospitals and health care professionals to assist them in meeting these meaningful use objectives.
VDH is also the lead agency guiding the development of a statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE) utility. The HIE utility will allow healthcare providers the opportunity to send and receive health information electronically. This utility is currently under development. In the future, it will offer a convenient way to transmit immunization, syndromic and laboratory data to VDH. Until that time, the messages should be sent directly to VDH.
Please use the links below for information on message specifications, establishing the messages and VDH contact information.
Submission of Immunization Registry Data (for eligible providers and hospitals)
Submission of Syndromic Surveillance Data (for eligible providers and hospitals)
Submission of Reportable Laboratory Results (for hospitals only)
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides detailed information on the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program requirements, as well as helpful answers to frequently asked questions, on their web page at http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/. The final rule can be accessed at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-17207.pdf.
Both Medicare and Medicaid offer financial incentives to providers and hospitals who implement or enhance EHR systems and meet criteria to demonstrate their meaningful use. Specific requirements and timeframes are provided in the regulations. Implementation and effective use of Certified EHR technology is a step toward reforming the health care system and improving health care quality, efficiency, and patient safety.
Based on public stakeholder feedback, CMS is using a staged approach to requiring the demonstration of meaningful use of EHR. Three phases are expected, but only the stage 1 requirements have been published to date. Stage 1 includes a set of core objectives to demonstrate meaningful use of EHR, as well as a menu set. Providers must meet all the core objectives as well as five items from the menu set, including at least one of the public health-related objectives. This requirement to address at least one of the public health meaningful use objectives is addressed in the final rule on p. 44328, column 2, paragraph 1 (see http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-17207.pdf)
The Medicaid Provider Incentive Program in Virginia will be administered by the Department of Medical Assistance Services. The State Medicaid HIT Plan (SMHP) was conditionally approved by CMS on March 7, 2011. The SMHP as well as other related information can be located on the Incentive Program web site: http://dmasva.dmas.virginia.gov/Content_pgs/pr-arra.aspx. The Medicaid incentive program is targeted to be launched first quarter Cy2012.