NAHC, HCTAA Comment on Proposed Federal Rule to Promote Nationwide Health IT Exchange
June 2, 2015 08:34 AM
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) along with its affiliate, the Home Care Technology Association of America (HCTAA), submitted comments to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today in response to ONC’s request for public comment on its proposed 2015 EditionHealth IT Certification Criteria, a federal rule to promote interoperability in the nation’s health information technology infrastructure.
NAHC and HCTAA submitted the comments in a letter from Richard Brennan, Vice President for Government Affairs and Technology at NAHC and Executive Director of HCTAA, that was addressed to ONC head Dr. Karen DeSalvo. The purpose of the letter, Brennan said, was to emphasize the importance of the “much needed alignment of standards” for technology use nationwide and “encourage the exchange of health information amongst physicians, hospitals, home health care, hospice and other long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) providers.”
In the letter, Brennan expressed support for the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria’s inclusion of a new standardfor home health agencies to support the transitions of care certification criteria as well as the CARE Plan standard to support longitudinal coordination of care. NAHC and HCTAA have advocated for these standards as being “key components to the interoperable exchange of health information between HHAs, hospice, physicians, and hospitals and other LTPAC settings.”
“We believe that inclusion of these standards in the 2015 Edition will provide the glide path to the adoption and use of electronic health records by home health care and hospice providers,” Brennan wrote.
However, Brennan stated that NAHC and HCTAA continue to encourage the Department of Health and Human Services to provide federal incentives – grants and resources - to home health and hospice agencies for the adoption of information technology use.
“We are also encouraged by the recently released Medicaid and CHIP Managed Care Proposed Rule that states could make available incentive payments for the use of information technology by providers currently ineligible for meaningful use payments - including long-term care providers, behavioral health providers and home health agencies,” Brennan wrote. “We will continue to advocate that HHS provide incentives to advance the adoption of Health IT systems by home health care and hospice providers and to support health IT exchange standards.”
The comments represent a continuation of NAHC and HCTAA’s efforts to assure ONC that home health and hospice agencies are vital to achieving interoperability, and that they need more assistance to adopt electronic health records and participate in the effort toward the interoperable exchange of health information. In April, as previously reported, NAHC and HCTAA submitted comments on ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap.
To read NAHC and HCTAA’s most recent letter, please click here.