CMS discontinues Randomizer method of meeting summary of care objective; Nursing home data sharing in its 'infancy';

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> Nursing homes are still in their "infancy" when it comes to data exchange and need more technological and human resources to implement health information technology. The study of 16 nursing homes, funded by a $14.8 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to reduce re-hospitalizations, found that the facilities used some technology but need more infrastructure, such as the availability of IT in clinical settings and policies and procedures regarding the security of the information. Study abstract

> CMS has acknowledged difficulties related to system issues providers are having in using CMS-designated test EHRs (NIST EHR-Randomizer Application) to meet measure 3 of the Stage 2 summary of care objective. Therefore, CMS has discontinued this option effective July 1. There are still two other ways to meet this objective. Website

> Pennsylvania's health information exchange, the Pennsylvania e-Health Partnership Authority, has awarded "onboarding" grants of more $674,000 to connect providers to its network. The money, most of which is from federal funds, is going to providers participating in the Medicaid EHR incentive program. Additional grants will be awarded later this year.  Announcement

Health Finance News

> The 340B drug program for safety-net hospitals will likely undergo significant changes in the coming months as the result of a new "mega-guidance" soon to-be-published by the Health Resources Services Administration (HSRA), which oversees the program. However, the contents of the guidance remained a little bit of a mystery, according to officials with 340B Health, the program's primary lobbying group, who spoke at this week's Healthcare Financial Management Association's annual national institute in Orlando, Florida. Article

> Crowdfunding continues to take hold as a potential solution for cash-strapped Americans trying to pay for their medical care, the Los Angeles Times has reported. Crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo have created campaigns specially tailored to people who have personal needs such as paying medical bills, according to the newspaper. Article   

Health Insurance News   

> Advocates have mostly praised Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to expand Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, to include healthcare coverage for approximately 170,000 poor immigrant children, Kaiser Health News reports. The measure, which was first announced last month, has been greeted as a big step up for the state's undocumented immigrants, but activists and others say that it does not go far enough because it does not guarantee access to doctors, nor does it cover adults. Article   

And Finally ... If only more people fought back this way. Article