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Technology update:
HealthBridge merger, proposed Meaningful Use Stage 3 rules
e-Reports, April 20, 2015
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HealthBridge experiences merger; Indiana services unchanged
HealthBridge, one of the nation’s largest health information exchanges (HIE), has merged with the Greater Cincinnati Health Council and the Health Collaborative, effective March 30. To customers outside of Greater Cincinnati, the merger represents no change other than a new name, The Health Collaborative.

The HealthBridge name was retained to identify the technology service line provided to hospitals, physician practices, commercial labs and health care organizations across an innovative information network. That includes more than 50 hospitals and care facilities, 800 physician practices, and 9,000 physicians in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. As The Health Collaborative, the delivery of business intelligence and data analytics tools of HealthBridge will continue unchanged.

In the Southeast Indiana Network, The Health Collaborative’s HealthBridge service line provides support services including meaningful use requirements, electronic results delivery, electronic health record (EHR) integration, and analytics and alerts to target improvements in patient care, population health, utilization and costs. As patients move from one health care setting to the next, HIE technology ensures the right health information is available at the time it is needed – a critical component enabling stakeholders to make smarter decisions to enhance patient care and lower health care costs.

All products and services will continue to be offered and delivered by the same professional staff. As a merged organization The Health Collaborative has service and product lines that address three areas; 1) improvement in health care delivery, 2) health data management, analysis and technology, and 3) convening multi-stakeholder solutions.

Prior to the merger, all three organizations were nonprofit health care support and improvement organizations established originally to serve the Greater Cincinnati market. Over time, the work of the three organizations became more and more integrated. Now merged, the organization can consolidate administrative services and more easily allocate resources to integrate technology solutions with other service offerings.

For more information about The Health Collaborative and its HealthBridge services, visit the healthbridge website.

Proposed Meaningful Use Stage 3: Should you be worried?
A message from Purdue Health Advisors
The proposed language for the Meaningful Use Stage 3 (MU3) rule was published in late March with some very notable differences. The committee that pulled this rule together, with feedback from multiple groups, is proposing a more streamlined version for Stage 3. Purdue Health Advisors commends the committee for these efforts.

For example, the committee members are currently working to identify the list of clinical quality measures (CQMs) for MU3 that aligns with other federal quality initiatives such as the Physician Quality Report System (PQRS).

Additionally, in 2018 all eligible professionals (EPs) will attest to MU3 – regardless of whether this is their second year or fifth year. These two changes will greatly reduce the reporting burden on practices currently trying to manage multiple providers in various stages of MU with different quality metrics.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognizes the challenging and time-consuming nature of upgrading software and is thus proposing that while MU3 will take effect in 2017, providers will not be required to attest to those metrics until 2018. And 2017 will be an optional year.

While those changes are welcome, many EPs are concerned about changes to the metrics themselves. In MU3, no core/menu objectives are included. They’ve been replaced by eight objectives, and EPs will be required to meet all metrics to fully attest. Don’t let this fool you into thinking MU has become easier because many of these eight objectives include multiple components and, in many cases, the thresholds increase.

Providers wanting to offer input on these measures should pay particular attention to Objectives 6, 7 and 8 since that’s where the challenges exist. To see the specifications for all eight objectives, visit here.

All providers are encouraged to review this information and submit public comments to CMS, as officials do seriously consider this feedback. Find the Stage 3 Proposed Rule in the March 30, 2015, Federal Register.

Submit your comments here; click the green “Submit a Formal Comment” button at the top. All comments must be received by May 29, 2015 by 11:59 PM EST.

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