AHA Urges Public Health EHR Readiness Registry

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The American Hospital Association is pushing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to promptly create a centralized repository on public health agency readiness to receive data hospitals must submit under the meaningful use program.

The association is leveraging the federal Office of Management and Budget to get quicker action from CMS by sending a letter to Howard Shelanski, administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. “CMS confirmed its plans to create the website in the agency’s final rule on Stage 2 meaningful use, which was released September 2012, but has yet to follow through,” according to the letter. “The agency should expedite its website development to support the goals of efficient electronic reporting to public health agencies and registries. Time is of the essence, as some hospitals already are attempting to meet the Stage 2 meaningful use requirements to electronically send three types of data (immunizations, reportable labs and biosurveillance) to public health and registries on a continuous basis. Many more hospitals will be required to do so beginning Oct. 1.”

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

CMS in a notice published on May 15 noted information on public health and registry readiness will be publicly available on their website. However, according to information CMS sent to Health Data Management, “no database has been built” and the agency in the notice is requesting additional information.

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