AHA pushes for centralized repository on public health readiness

The American Hospital Association (AHA) wants to light a fire under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to establish its promised centralized database on the readiness of public health agencies and registries to receive electronic data from providers by putting pressure on the Office of Management and Budget.

In a letter dated June 12 to Howard Shelinski, Administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, AHA urges CMS to "promptly" create the website, noting that "time is of the essence" in order for providers to meet the requirements of Meaningful Use. Three objectives in Stage 1 and five objectives of Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program require providers to determine the readiness of public health agencies and registries to receive electronic health record data.

"The proposed information collection would decrease burden on providers, as well as often underfunded public health agencies and registries, by establishing a single, central repository of information and eliminating multiple individual inquiries to multiple public health agencies and registries," the letter states. "Currently, it is quite burdensome for hospitals and other providers to obtain this information. ... Agencies and registries' readiness vary in their ability to receive information pursuant to Meaningful Use, conduct testing and process large volumes of data."

Having the central repository operational would also help CMS assess whether providers have met this requirement, according to AHA.

CMS issued a notice in February of its plan to create a centralized, single database as the "definitive" source for providers to use in order to eliminate the need for multiple individual inquires.  

While the majority of eligible hospitals (EHs) and eligible professionals (EPs) have attested to Stage 1 of Meaningful Use, only 447 EPs and eight EHs have attested to Stage 2 in 2014, according to the latest statistics from CMS.

To learn more:
- read the letter (.pdf)