Speaking at a March 20 Federal Trade Commission event, National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo said that to date about $24 billion--$22 billion on the Medicare and Medicaid incentive program and $2 billion on other programs--has been spent to drive adoption of electronic health records.

“That $24 billion, by the way, does not include the Medicaid investments that are going on now and will continue until 2021 and are about $16 billion,” said DeSalvo.

One of the challenges that ONC is trying to address is how to capture data from healthcare providers not currently eligible for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, such as long term and post-acute care and behavioral health providers.

“We still have some pretty important gaps in the capture of good health information,” DeSalvo told the audience. “That includes non-eligible providers, as we call them. Behavioral health and long term post-acute care are just two examples. There are many more in the care continuum where, frankly, some of the sickest of the sick of our community are receiving services and we’re not yet able to capture information in a standardized way.”

Though almost a third of Medicare patients discharged from acute-care hospitals must receive treatment from post-acute-care providers, long-term care and behavioral health facilities were not included in the incentive program. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that patients who receive long-term and post-acute services typically have co-occurring health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

“There is still some thinking that we need to do about how we’re going to help advance the capture of standardized information for patients in nursing homes, rehab, and behavioral health systems,” concluded DeSalvo.

At ONC's Annual Meeting in January, Office of Policy and Planning Director Jodi Daniel said that the Policy Committee's Certification Adoption Workgroup is looking broadly at how to leverage the certification program and criteria for ineligible providers, and that long-term care and behavioral health providers have been identified as high priorities.

 

 

 

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