Home Care Technology Association of America Helps Develop Comments on the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan
February 18, 2015 12:48 PM
NAHC’s affiliate, the Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA), recently helped develop formal comments for the Long Term and Post Acute Care Health IT Collaborative in response to the Federal Government’s Health IT strategy for 2015 – 2020. HCTAA is a member of the organization, and served to make sure that the home care and hospice community’s voice was reflected in the comments that were ultimately submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The comments state that:
“The LTPAC Health IT Collaborative agrees with the laudable goals outlined in the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and appreciate HHS’s ongoing efforts to drive wide-spread adoption and use of health IT that will benefit the individual and society alike…
It is significant to find LTPAC included in the HHS’s definition of “provider” and acknowledged as an important part of the healthcare system. We were also pleased to the broadening of health IT to include telehealth and mobile technologies. While we support the broad goals and objectives outlined in the strategic plan, the challenge is in implementation…
As HHS acknowledges in this draft, LTPAC, behavioral health and other providers did not receive incentivizes under the HITECH Act andAmerican Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that hospitals and eligible professionals have used to offset costs related to meaningful use of health IT. The lack of incentive payments has not dampened the enthusiasm that many LTPAC providers and health IT vendors have demonstrated in terms of investing in health IT, advancing interoperability and promoting health information exchange. Nonetheless, the lack of incentives is an important limiting factor that we wish to be understood by federal policymakers…
Rather than rely on new care and payment models to support the cost of health IT adoption by LTPAC, HHS should consider other specific strategies to encourage the adoption health IT (including EHRs and telehealth) and health information exchange. This is particularly important for LTPAC providers in small and/or rural communities who do not have resources or the market opportunities created by the Health Reform to justify the investment of health IT. Such strategies may include direct incentive payments (federal and/or state), reimbursement of a broader array of telehealth services, health IT grants, and no/low-interest loans in addition to no/low-cost technical assistance on planning and implementation, by HITRECs for example.”
The comments also delve into specific proposals on the importance of telehealth and mobile technologies, and on the need to advance information exchange among all providers – two key priorities of HCTAA specifically and the long term and post acute care community more generally.
To read the full comments, please click here.