NAHC Year in Review: Health Information Technology Policy and Legislation
December 27, 2013 09:53 AM
2013 was an eventful year within the health IT realm for home care and hospice providers. Below are the most significant developments for the home care and hospice community with respect to Health IT policy and legislation compiled by NAHC and its affiliate Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA):
FITT Act Introduced
During the National Association for Home Care and Hospice’s annual March on Washington, Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) re-introduced legislation to expand the use of telehealth technology under Medicare to reduce hospital re-admissions in rural and underserved communities across the country.
The bipartisan Fostering Independence Through Technology (FITT) Act - S. 596 - would create pilot programs to provide incentives for home health agencies to use remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology to better monitor Medicare beneficiaries, improve health outcomes, and reduce Medicare expenditures.
The FITT Act was ultimately included and approved by voice vote as an amendment in the Senate’s SGR – or “doc fix” – legislation before the Senate adjourned for the year.
For more in the FITT Act, please click here.
For more details on the FITT Act being accepted as an amendment during the Senate Finance Committee markup, please click here.
Voluntary Certification Advocacy
After the announcement that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) was considering the development of a voluntary EHR certification Program for Long-Term Post-Acute Care (LTPAC) providers - which includes home care and hospice - the National Association for Home Care & Hospice’s affiliated Home Care Technology Association (HCTAA) has been an active stakeholder in providing public comments, written comments, and provider and vendor witnesses for testimony at public hearings.
For more on this issue, please see NAHC Report, November 26, 2013.
For more on HCTAA’s voluntary certification advocacy, please click here.
Meaningful Use Stage 3 Comments - Including New HL7 HH-POC standard
Both the Home Health Plan of Care (HH-PoC) and Transfer of Care (ToC) standards were certified by HL7 this year and are moving into piloting stage. This encompassed two years of work within the S&I Framework Longitudinal Coordination of Care (LCC) Work Group.
The Longitudinal Coordination of Care (LCC) Initiative has launched the Pilot phase for the LCC Transfer of Care and Care Plan/Home Health Plan of Care (HHPoC). The purpose of the Pilot phase is to implement the evolving technology in real-world situations and aid in learning the policies that will be required for an operational system, identify barriers for implementation, and revise reference implementations and harmonized specifications based on real-world lessons learned.
The implementations will be transitioned to open source communities for long-term sustainment. LCC is seeking organizations that may be interested in participating as a Pilot Site http://wiki.siframework.org/LCC+Pilots+WG.
For more on NAHC and HCTAA’s activity surrounding Meaningful Use Stage 3, please click here.
HCTAA Safe Harbor Comments
The Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) submitted comments to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) regarding the solicitation of new safe harbors and special fraud alerts with respect to home health and hospice agencies and their ability to share information and their use of information technology. HCTAA is an affiliate of NAHC, and was founded in 2005 to support initiatives that encourage the use of health information technology in the home care setting.
The HCTAA comments emphasize that:
In most cases, the delivery of quality home health care and hospice services is very dependent upon the collaboration and exchange of health information across the continuum of care with our physician partners and with hospital systems. Therefore, we believe it is imperative that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) through the Office of Inspector General (OIG) consider extending safe harbor provisions to protect the ability home health care and hospice providers to receive donations by hospitals of electronic health records software or information technology and training services.
For more information on HCTAA’s safe harbor comments, please click here.
NAHC/HCTAA Technology Demonstrations
The National Association of Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), and its affiliate Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA) worked with several home care providers to demonstrate to Members of Congress the value, promise and potential that telehealth holds for those who need home healthcare.
Representatives from NAHC and HCTAA were joined by Pat Laff, Managing Principal at Laff Associates in Hilton Head, SC; and Anna Doyle, RN, Patient Advocate & Telehealth Specialist with THA Group in Savannah, GA. The group provided comprehensive telehealth demonstrations to several members of the Georgia and South Carolina Congressional delegations. The meetings were set up, and the technology was brought, by representatives from THA Group.
For more on the NAHC/HCTAA remote patient monitoring demonstrations for Members of Congress, please click here.