And HIT Study Fueled By $1 Million HHS Grant
Reimbursement strategies and integration of HIT
incentives will be examined by a two-part study at the George
Washington University under a $1 million grant from HHS.
"The purpose of this contract is to conduct two
projects required under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of
2009. This statute includes the Health Information Technology for
Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act) that sets forth a
plan for advancing the appropriate use of health information technology
to improve quality of care and establish a foundation for healthcare
reform," HHS said.
The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for
HIT will supervise the project, specifically concentrated on
reimbursement policies for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs),
rural health clinics (RHCs) and free clinics.
HHS said those medical centers were selected for
the study because of their unique payment methodologies, using an
institutional claim form lacking data collecting elements that could
include them in quality incentive programs.
The first half of the study will determine
effective reimbursement incentives that can be applied to FQHCs, RHCs
and free clinics to improve their quality of care. Through review and
assessment of past incentive programs from public, private and state
payers possible incentive models should be identified and tested to see
if they can be applied to safety-net providers.
"The current basic payment systems reward overuse
of services and use of high-cost complex procedures; it is understood
that there is a wide variation in practice patterns and that these
variations do not necessarily correlate with improved care," HHS said.
"Payment reforms are recognized as a key ingredient to promote high
quality clinical, patient-centered and efficient care."
Because the shift is now taking place from
rewarding volume to encouraging quality, HHS said this study is
necessary. One focus of the study will be on implementing HIT
incentives and reimbursement for telehealth services.
Goals for the first half of the study is to
understand and assess reimbursement incentive programs; "the assessment
will examine how these programs have been structured in the past and
how they have evolved over time and the extent that these incentive
programs are effective at achieving the intended outcome," HHS said.
The assessments will determine possible approaches
to include FQHCs, RHCs and free clinics in the quest for quality; after
identifying the barriers preventing the medical centers from
quality-related reimbursement incentives, a panel will be constructed
to re-evaluate and report to Congress.
"The second project will investigate the impact of
HIT, including electronic health records (EHRs), in communities with
health disparities and in areas with a high proportion of individuals
who areuninsured, underinsured and medically underserved," HHS said.
"This project will also identify practices to increase adoption of HIT
by healthcare providers in such communities and the use of HIT to
reduce and better manage chronic disease."
The study will assess the impact HIT has had on
the communities and identify the best practices to boost adoption and
use. A panel of HIT experts will be constructed to evaluate and conduct
an environmental scan and literature review to determine the impact on
health disparities as well as on the communities.
Address: U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services, 200 Independence Ave. SW, Washington DC 20201; (877)