You’ve probably heard that Meaningful Use will be ending in 2016. Meaningful use is not ending and the use of a Certified Health Record will still be required. Most of the takeaways from the blog posts and news articles don’t tell the whole story. The following should help to give everyone a clear picture of what’s really happening and how it affects your organization.
Andy Slavitt, the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stated at a January 11th healthcare conference that, “Meaningful Use, as we know it, will be over in 2016.” “As we know it,” was left out of the headlines and sound bytes. Those four words indicate that it’s not going away, but rather evolving into something different.
Until now, providers have been eligible for incentive dollars for purchasing and using a certified electronic health record. Beginning in 2017, it’s expected that Meaningful Use will be based upon the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Simply stated, providers will be incentivized with reimbursement based on outcomes. The new system is going to require use of a certified health record. In fact, the last stage of requirements for certification, ONC 2015, is being finalized now and will be valid through calendar year 2019.
SMART’s Vice President of Product and Technology, Paul LeBeau
On Tuesday January 28, 2014 SMART’s Vice President of Product and Technology, Paul LeBeau testified at the EHR (Electronic Health Record) Behavioral Health Certification / Adoption Workgroup Virtual Hearing on BH (Behavioral Healthcare) EHR Certification. Providence, RI based SMART Management, Inc. was invited to participate in the Vendor Perspective portion of the work group to offer a professional perspective on how ONC Behavioral Health Certification may impact the field. The following is a summary of his testimony:
“SMART Management started out organically to improve operations of our own substance abuse facilities by automating our information management systems ultimately creating a 100% paperless clinic. 21 years later, SMART Management manages and operates Discovery House, a national system of 18 fully-accredited facilities, and provides a fully-certified EHR solution with more than 120 installations internationally.
Our unique vendor and provider perspective allows SMART to understand both the demands and impact that national certification initiatives place on the end user and the vendor.
We recognized the benefits and value of a widely-adopted EHR Certification standard for healthcare. We chose to certify our EHR for this reason and, from a software provider’s perspective, to ensure business continuity in this changing healthcare environment.
In the substance abuse treatment sector, IT functionality has been fragmented at best. Even today, with many EHR solutions available, there is a wide range of implementations from nothing at all, to several disparate systems that have little or no interoperability.
While our solution is singular, comprehensive and ONC Certified, many of our customers are not pursuing meaningful use incentives, as it would require them to adopt workflows to demonstrate meaningful use that are not meaningful to them in their treatment environments.
While acknowledging the benefits of utilizing a certified EHR, the costs to implement an EHR are substantial. From a consumer’s perspective overall cost of health care provision is increasing while revenue is decreasing. Without some form of incentive, providers who are motivated by improved care, and transitions of care, would have difficulty covering the costs. For this reason, we feel that the potential wide-spread adoption of a voluntary behavioral health certification is low. Without broad adoption, the degree to which information exchange improves care is limited.
For information exchange between primary care and behavioral health to be meaningful and useful, a certification program must be based upon a holistic redefinition of “health care”, treating the whole person, body and mind. Primary care should have more of an interest in substance abuse treatment and substance abuse treatment needs closer involvement with primary care. The Health Homes initiative and State Health Information Exchanges are helping to eventually bring this together.
From the substance abuse treatment perspective, EHR certification would help to improve information exchange, but from a patient perspective, information exchange could be perceived as compromising privacy and confidentiality. This perception is more about the potential re-disclosure of information than it is with the process of sharing the information with a Health Information Exchange.
Confidentiality requirements in substance abuse treatment pose significant challenges to the providers’ ability to participate in data exchange. For example, uploading patient substance abuse data to a Health Information Exchange is problematic, because 42 CFR Part 2 requires signed consents to list all individuals who may access that data. This is difficult at best initially, and impossible to maintain over time as membership in the HIE changes. There are efforts underway (e.g. RI CurrentCare) to establish a process that complies with 42 CFR Part 2, but without revision to those regulations, it seems those efforts will remain hindered.
Beyond the benefits of information interchange, for clinical quality measures to be meaningful, they have to be specific to the healthcare sector. Uniform data assessment and measurement criteria in behavioral health would be needed to benefit the diverse community of providers.
In closing, while SMART is in favor of establishing an ONC Certification Program specifically oriented towards behavioral health, we would encourage that this program:
Be incentivized to maximize its potential for success, at the same time broadening the eligible provider pool to include clinicians.
Be based upon measures specifically oriented towards behavioral health.
Amends 42 CFR Part 2 to support this program, removing a major barrier to its adoption.
Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to offer this testimony and look forward to continued participate in the future.” A part of what makes SMART such a great company to work for is our associates. Each and every member of our team is valued for their individuality and commitment to those we serve.
Get to know our company history…For more than 20 years, SMART’s expertise in managing substance abuse treatment facilities and partnerships with EHR Software customers from around the world has fueled our software innovations.
There is always something new and exciting happening at SMART. Our news page is host to a wide range of articles and topics that will help get you caught up on company updates, customer news and industry trends.
If you are already a SMART Software Customer you will probably know most of the faces featured in our new ad series running in Behavioral Healthcare Magazine. We know that many of our long-standing customers have continued to use SMART Software because of the partnership and trust that go along with it. Since our main focus is our existing customers, we wanted to speak to you in a familiar voice. Although product and features are important, we wanted to do more than simply listing qualities of our EHR Software, talking about our 100% ONC Certification or our Software’s Meaningful Use features. Our new “Real” ad series features our President and CEO David Piccoli, II and many other SMART staff members. Even David’s father, David Piccoli, Sr. makes an appearance.
We take pride in every relationship that we have developed and our main focus is to continually cultivate and strengthen the trust and partnerships between our customers and our staff. Our commitment is to customer delight and we want to ensure that you are fully satisfied. Being knowledgeable and responsive to the individual customer experience is of the utmost importance to our future development and us. Furthermore, it is our goal to grow with you and to become a valuable tool to assist your agency in becoming even more efficient. We would love to hear from you! Not just to learn about your experience but to find out how we can improve. Thank you for giving is the opportunity to serve you! We look forward to our continued partnership.
It was a pleasure to see every one of you at this year’s AATOD Conference. I am very pleased that many of you were able to take the time out of your busy conference schedules to visit with me and spend time with some of the SMART Team.
As always, our interactions with you were not only enjoyable, but extremely insightful. The SMART Team always appreciates the opportunity to spend one-on-one time discussing your needs and learning more about your unique experience with our software or our services.
SMART ‘s New Booth!
We were encouraged to hear that our key areas of focus in the booth were a clear reflection of your expressed needs as a SMART customer. We recognize that our customers face certain challenges and we are ready to provide solutions that exceed your expectations in the following areas:
Dianne & David Piccoli Sr. enjoying another great AATOD
SMART’s 20th Anniversary Celebration!
New branding and booth reveal.
Customer appreciation cocktail party held at the Stratosphere, hosted with Clinical Science and VistaPharm. This was bigger than any AATOD Party to date!
Grand prize customer gift giveaway; congratulations to Tadiso Incorporated!
Left to right: Richard Froncillo- Director of Patient Advocacy & Peter Morris- COO
We are very excited for all of the feedback that we received about our new SMART branding, booth and product offerings.
I would like to encourage all of our SMART Partners to continue to give us feedback about our company and your specific needs. After all, your needs drive our goals for continuous improvement and customer delight.
We look forward to seeing you again in Philadelphia for AATOD 2013!