Since my last blog there have been a number of meetings and reports that are very important to long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) providers and IT vendors. Here’s a review of these events and some information on how you can get involved.
The National Quality Forum (NQF) Measure Applications Partnership final pre-rulemaking report titled, “Input on Measures Under Consideration by HHS for 2012 Rulemaking” was published on February 1, backing up the previous final report specific to LTPAC. There is information you should read in both of these reports to get an understanding of the strategic direction of quality measurements in LTPAC. NQF has an objective to harmonize quality measurements across care settings.
Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) met last month and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) played a major role in one of the largest HIMSS meetings. More than 35,000 people in health IT attended. ONC gave a town hall meeting on the overall HITECH program and the Beacon Communities. There was also an ONC Interoperability Showcase with 22 demonstrations, including many on Health Information Exchanges and the inclusion of LTPAC providers.
The meeting on Beacon Communities was most interesting to LTPAC. There are 17 Beacon Communities with an objective of interconnecting all providers in their community. You should be aware of this program, and if your facility is located within a Beacon Community, you should get in touch with the person responsible.
The Electronic Health Record Incentive Program—Stage 2 proposed rule was published. Within this 455 page document, LTPAC is mentioned numerous times. There is a hint of the future inclusion of LTPAC in quality measures on page 177:
“We recognize that we do not have additional measures to propose beginning with CY 2014 in the areas of long-term and post-acute care. Since the publication of the Stage 1 final rule, we have partnered with the National Governor's Association to participate in a panel with long-term care and health information exchange experts to gain insight and consensus on possible clinical quality measures. At this time, however, no clinical quality measures for long-term and post-acute care have been identified as being ready (electronically specified) beginning with CY 2014. We expect to continue to develop or identify clinical quality measures for these areas with our partners and stakeholders for future years.”