Health IT changes in proposed SGR fix

Identical bills submitted in the House and Senate to fix the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula have strong health IT implications, including a deadline for interoperability, writes Brian Ahier, director of standards and government affairs at Medicity, who also serves on the Interoperability and HIE Workgroup of the HIT Policy Committee.

The bills attempt to avert a 21 percent rate reduction scheduled for April 1. The patch lawmakers enacted last year is due to expire March 31 and another short-term patch will likely be necessary, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) expressed optimism that a bipartisan SGR deal would be worked out, FierceHealthFinance reported.

Ahier outlines several HIT implications in a Google+ post. Among them: 

  • Medicare's incentive programs for electronic health records (EHRs), quality reporting and the so-called value-based modifier would be merged.
  • Starting in 2018, measures used by qualified clinical data registries will be allowed for assessing quality performance.
  • EHRs would have to be interoperable by 2017 and the bills would ban providers from deliberately blocking other vendor products. 

To learn more:
- here's the post