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  • Washington Highlights

    CMS Releases RFI for Assessing Interoperability under MACRA

    Len Marquez, Senior Director, Government Relations

    The Office of National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology (HIT) April 7 issued a request for information (RFI) on assessing interoperability for the Medicare Access CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Specific provisions under MACRA directs ONC to assess metrics to evaluate whether stakeholders, nationwide, have achieved widespread health information exchange through electronic health record (EHR) technology by the end of CY 2018. The RFI solicits comments in three specific topic areas: measurement population, assessing current data sources and other data sources to successfully measure interoperability.

    ONC believes that the scope of measurements should be limited to meaningful EHR users which include: eligible professionals (EP), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals that are required to attest to meaningful use of certified EHR technology under the Meaningful Use program. ONC inquires whether the focus of measurement should be limited to the meaningful EHR users or not and how EPs participating in the various payment systems established under MACRA should be addressed.

    Furthermore, ONC plans to conduct national surveys to get a holistic representation of both hospitals and office-based physicians to evaluate progress related to the interoperable exchange of health information. The RFI discusses various measures and questions that the ONC is considering to include in the surveys.

    Finally, the RFI also discusses various data sources to measure interoperability such as Medicare claims data and electronically-generated data from certified EHR technology. ONC seeks feedback on whether these data sources provide consistency and whether there are additional national level data sources ONC should consider.

    Comments are due June 3, 2016. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will publish the proposed rule on MACRA in Spring of 2016 and the final rule is likely to follow in November 2016.