There are indications that the proposed rules for Stage 2 of the electronic health records meaningful use program will come out on Feb. 17, a few days before the giant HIMSS Conference in Las Vegas.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be in Kansas City on Feb. 17 to discuss the growth of jobs in the health information technology industry and “make an important announcement about progress in health IT adoption by hospitals and doctors,” according to a statement from her office. Sebelius will visit Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley Health Science Institute in Kansas City, Mo., to make the announcement. The college has a substantial health I.T. and coding curriculum. It is not listed on the Office of the National Coordinator's list of community colleges offering HITECH Act-funded health I.T. training programs under the Community College Consortia program.

Two knowledgeable sources tell Health Data Management that the plan is for Sebelius to release the Stage 2 rules. One of the sources cautions, “That’s the plan, but things could change.” A third source could not confirm the rules were coming, but said HHS “was looking for an event” and wanted the rules out before HIMSS.

These sources are not within HHS; three departmental officials did not respond to requests for confirmation. However, HHS will have a bevy of officials at HIMSS to discuss various issues including Stage 2. In particular, a February 21 session at the conference is scheduled at 9:45 a.m. in the San Polo 3503 room and titled, “Stage 2: An Introduction--Joint CMS-ONC Session.” Also, a session is scheduled with an HHS official during the pre-conference Achieving Meaningful Use Symposium on Feb. 20, titled, “CMS & ONC Present Stage 2--Essential Knowledge.”

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