On August 14-16, 2018 the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) held its 2018 National Meeting. This meeting brought together more than 350 informatics professionals, public health officials, EHR vendors, and other stakeholders who all care passionately about Immunization Information Systems (IIS) and their role in the healthcare community. IIS projects leverage interoperability with EHRs, PHRs, and other systems to promote clinical practice at the point of care; enable public health surveillance; and reduce cost by assisting in preventing both under and over immunization.Read More
On August 2, 2018 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2019 Inpatient Prospective Payment System Final Rule to Quality Payment Program. We earlier released thoughts on the Proposed Rule as well as our formal comments.
The Final Rule affirmed most of CMS’ proposed changes, with some notable exceptions:
- Required public health measures were reduced from three (Stage 3 requirement) to just two, but Syndromic Surveillance will not be a requirement for hospitals covered under the rule.
- While CMS continued to be unclear about its plans for the removal of public health measures altogether for CY2022 and beyond, they did express some openness to consider continuing public health measures and to study the issue over the next few years.
It is clear from the comments discussed in the final rule that comments submitted supporting public health requirements were received, noted, and had a positive impact on the final rule. Kudos to public health advocates for their strong voice!
In her presentation, Rebecca Coyle, Executive Director of AIRA, said that, “Noam Arzt has been nominated and selected for this award for his service as an AIRA volunteer in the IIS community. Since AIRA’s founding in 2012, he has served on 14 committees or workgroups, including the Technical committee, the Urban/Cities Committee, and the Data Exchange Steering Committee and currently serves o the SISC, ESC, and JDI Advisory Workgroup. Noam’s passion and commitment to the IIS community and to public health are also reflected in the open source release of Immunization Calculation Engine (ICE) and a data quality tool developed by HLN.”
On August 10, 2018, HLN released a new version (v1.14.1) of the Immunization Calculation Engine (ICE). ICE is a state-of-the-art open-source software system that provides clinical decision support for immunizations for use in Immunization Information Systems (IIS), Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Personal Health Record (PHR) Systems.
The release completes support for Earliest Date and Overdue Date for all vaccine series in ICE’s default schedule. If enabled, ICE will output two additional forecast dates along with the Recommendation Date: the Earliest Date and Overdue Date. The Earliest Date is the soonest date that the vaccine can be given and still be considered valid. The Overdue Date is the date after which an immunization administered would be considered late. Completing support for Earliest Date/Overdue Date is an important milestone for ICE. HLN will be presenting this new version this week at the annual meeting of the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) and week of August 20 at the CDC Public Health Informatics Conference.
The latest ICE Implementation Guide (v2r20) describes how implementers should update their installation and software to properly read the Earliest, Recommended, and Overdue dates. The relevant information starts on page 43. Note that a “track changes” version of this same guide is also available. The tracked changes are intended to make it easier for the reader to see what has changed in the Guide since the prior release of the ICE Implementation Guide (v2r18).
The full software release is available for download at https://cdsframework.atlassian.net/wiki/display/ICE/Downloads.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has now released a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), titled Medicare Program; Revisions to Payment Policies under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2019; Medicare Shared Savings Program Requirements; Quality Payment Program; and Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program. The purpose of this NPRM is to address proposed changes for Year 3 of MIPS, the provider (as opposed to hospital) side of the Quality Payment Program. The part that is most relevant to public health is the Medicaid Promoting Interoperability (IP) Program for Eligible Professionals (EP)” (the EHR Incentive Programs have been renamed). A major goal of this NPRM is to synchronize as much as possible the EP program with the hospital-based program that was addressed in a previous NPRM just a few months ago.