Sunday, August 17, 2008

Post Olympic Hangover

Medicare To Launch PHR Pilot Program in Utah, Arizona

On Jan. 2, 2009, CMS will launch a new pilot that will provide Medicare beneficiaries in Utah and Arizona with personal health records, Government Health IT reports.
The pilot is part of a larger effort by CMS to encourage Medicare beneficiaries to use PHRs (Ferris, Government Health IT, 8/8).
The PHRs will be populated with two years' worth of Medicare claims data. In addition, patients will be able to add information to their PHRs and share them with health care providers.
In June 2007, CMS launched a PHR pilot project for some beneficiaries enrolled in private Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. In April, the agency launched a similar program for traditional Medicare beneficiaries in South Carolina. CMS also has announced plans to move forward with an electronic health record pilot program in four geographic areas (Young, The Hill


CMS' request for proposal calls on the vendors to offer a variety of features and services, such as:

  • Populating the PHR with prescriptions and lab results;
  • Importing information from health care devices;
  • Allowing users to view data in multiple ways; and
  • Enabling users to order prescription refills

    On Sunday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signed into law a health care bill that provides $25 million to promote electronic health record adoption, the Boston Globe reports.
    The legislation, aimed at boosting health care safety and curbing rising health care costs, would establish an institute to award grants to physicians and hospitals looking to increase their use of health IT (Allen, Boston Globe, 8/11).
    In addition, the new law requires hospitals and community health centers to adopt computerized physician order-entry systems by 2013 and EHR systems by 2015, Modern Healthcare reports.
    Some of the law's other provisions include:

    • Establishing a medical-home demonstration project aimed at reducing costs through preventive, coordinated patient care;
    • Requiring hospitals to report health care-associated infections;
    • Mandating that pharmaceutical and medical device companies publicly disclose any physician payments or gifts of more than $50; and
    • Requiring the University of Massachusetts Medical School to expand its residency openings for students devoted to primary care medicine or working in underserved areas (Rhea, Modern Healthcare, 8/11).
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