DeSalvo clears air about MU's future

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon
 - Computer Globe

National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, MD, MSc, MPH, set the record straight regarding Meaningful Use during a joint HIT Policy and Standards Committee meeting on Jan. 20.

Even though the industry is in the process of transitioning to value-based payment and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) passed by Congress last year, MACRA won’t happen overnight, DeSalvo said. Proposed regulations will be released for public comment this spring and physicians’ Medicare payments will continue to be based on their use of certified EHR technology.

Referencing her blog post with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, DeSalvo said, “We’re moving to a place where we’re rewarding better outcomes and using health IT, rather than focusing on rewarding health IT particularly.”

MACRA includes the Merit-Based Incentive Program (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

DeSalvo reiterated the goal the Department of Health and Human Services laid out last spring that 30 percent of Medicare payments in 2016 and 50 percent in 2018 would be based on APMs, such as accountable care organizations, bundled payments and patient-centered medical homes. She also continued her theme from the past of a pivot—“it’s really more about knowledge that can come from that data as opposed to thinking about the adoption of platforms themselves.”

Despite ongoing calls for an end to Meaningful Use, MACRA actually modifies participation and payment for Medicare-eligible professionals and requires participants to use certified health IT.

Elise Sweeney Anthony, acting director of ONC’s Office of Policy, also spoke at the meeting. She explained that 25 percent of the composite performance score that determines a physician’s penalty or bonus payment will be based on the meaningful use of certified EHR technology. “We’re working hand-in-hand with CMS as we think about what that looks like and how best to move the use of certified health IT forward for the benefit of providers and patients.”

Sweeney Anthony also noted that MACRA focuses on Medicare EPs, not eligible hospitals, critical access hospitals or Medicaid providers. While CMS and ONC consider how best to align MACRA with these other stakeholders, ONC’s certified health IT program will “continue to flourish.”