eHI Finalizes Jan 19-20 Annual Conference Agenda, Washington, DC.

eHealth Initiative Annual Conference,
Turning Policy into Action
Washington, DC

Featuring David Blumenthal and Joy Pritts from ONC, Keynote from Cokie Roberts.

Panels on CMS Innovation, Looking Ahead to Stage 2 Meaningful Use, Outlook for Health Care Policy with New Congress, eHI Awards, Privacy and Health IT, Care Coordination in Real Word, Creating Accountable Care Organizations, Data for Quality Improvement, and Progress and Barriers at State Level: HIT Coordination Panel.

For more information and registration, click here.

DAY ONE: Wednesday, January 19, 2011
9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
eHI Members Only

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Conference Registration 

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Welcome and Overview of the Day
–Jennifer Covich Bordenick, Chief Executive Officer, eHealth Initiative
–William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, FACPM, President and Chief Executive Officer, Medical Group Management Association, 2011 eHealth Initiative Board Chair

2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A Discussion with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation
Guest Speakers:
–Moderator: Steve Stack, MD, Member, Secretary, American Medical Association
– Mandy Krauthamer Cohen, MD, MPH, Senior Advisor, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Meaningful Use: A Look Ahead to Stage 2
–Moderator: Larry Yuhasz, Director, Strategy and Business Development, Thomson Reuters
–Mark Bell, Chief Information Officer, North Carolina Hospital Association
–Hank Fanberg, Technology Advocacy, Christus Health
–Charles Jarvis, Vice President of Healthcare Services and Government Relations, NextGen Healthcare
–Harry F. Laws, MD, FAAP, Chief Medical Information Officer, Community Health Network, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Indiana School of Medicine

4:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
The New Congress in 2011: Outlook for Health Care Policy
Introduction: Leigh Burchell, Allscripts, and 2011 eHI Policy Steering Committee Vice Chair
–Democrat Perspective: David Thomas, Principal, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc.
–Republican Perspective: Alex Vogel, Partner, Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc.

4:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Awards Ceremony & Welcome
Presented by: William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, FACPM, President and Chief Executive Officer, Medical Group Management Association, 2011 eHealth Initiative Board Chair

DAY TWO: Thursday, January 20, 2011

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Registration & Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Conference Overview Welcome Back

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Privacy and Health IT: A Conversation with the Chief Privacy Officer
Introduction: Gerry Hinkley, Co-Chair, Health Care Industry Team, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
–Joy Pritts, Chief Privacy Officer, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, US Department of Health and Human Services

9:30 a.m.- 10:30 a.m.
Care Coordination in the Real World
Moderated by: Bruce Henderson, National Leader, EHR/HIE Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Guest Speakers:
–Robert Fortini, Chief Clinical Officer, Bon Secours Medical Group from Bon Secours Health System
–Dr. Bruce Hamory, MD, Executive Vice President, Managing Partner, Geisinger Consulting Services, Geisinger Health System
–Charles Kennedy, MD, Vice President for Health Information Technology, WellPoint

10:30 a.m – 10:45 a.m.|
Networking Break

10:45 a.m.- 11:45 a.m.
Creating Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)
Moderated by: John Edelblut, Senior Executive, Accenture
–Andrew Ziskind, Partner and Senior Executive, Accenture
–Dick Salmon, MD, PhD, National Medical Director for Quality, CIGNA HealthCare
–Mike Flammini, Head of Strategy, Aetna
–James Walton, DO, MBA, Vice President of Health Equity and Chief Equity Officer, Baylor Health Care System

11:45 a.m.- 12:45 p.m.
Lunch and Networking

12:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.|
Data for Quality Improvement
Moderator: Daniel Carmody, CPA, ChFC, Operations Director, Information Strategy and Solutions, CIGNA HealthCare
–Janet Corrigan, President and CEO, National Quality Forum
–Scott Cullen, MD, Lead for Clinical Analytics, Accenture
–Tracey Moorhead, President & CEO, Care Continuum Alliance
–Gurvaneet Randhawa, MD, MPH, Senior Advisor on Clinical Genomics & Personalized Medicine, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

 2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Networking Break

2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
HIT Coordination Panel: Progress and Barriers at State Level
Moderator: Rebecca Little, Senior Vice President, Medicity
–Doug Dietzman, Executive Director, Michigan Health Connect
–Gina Bianco Perez, Executive Director, Delaware Health Information Network
–John K. Evans, MHA, FACHE, President, S2A Consulting
–Liza Fox-Wylie, Policy Director, Colorado Regional Health Information Organization 
–Tom Liddell, Executive Director, Michiana Health Information Network
–Vikas Khosla, President and CEO, BluePrint Healthcare IT, NJ HIN Privacy and Security Committee Subject Matter Expert

3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Keynote Address
–Introduction by Diane Jones, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, eHealth Initiative
–David Blumenthal, MD, MPH, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, US Department of Health and Human Services

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m
Keynote Address:
Introduction by Jennifer Covich, Chief Executive Officer, eHealth Initiative
–Cokie Roberts Cokie Roberts, ABC Congressional Correspondent and Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio

5:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m
Closing Remarks
Jennifer Covich Bordenick, Chief Executive Officer, eHealth Initiative

For more information and registration, click here.

New Jersey: 20th State to Receive ONC Approval for HIE Operational Plan

ONC Approves 20th Strategic and Operational State HIE Plan: New Jersey
On January 13, 2011, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT approved the operational portion of the State of New Jersey’s Strategic and Operational Plan for Health Information Exchange. This should lead soon to a release of funding for the first of four years of the plan. Previously only planning funds were released. Total Award Amount for New Jersey is $11,408,594. NJ-HITEC, New Jersey’s Regional Extension Center (REC), has already been awarded $23,048,351. Funds for HIE and REC programs are released based on reaching specific milestones.

List of Approved Plans on ONC’s State HIE Program site
New Jersey Strategic and Operational Plan–ONC Summary [PDF]

Following are excerpts from the first five of six pages ONC released summarizing the NJ program. The sixth page is an HIE Inventory, enabling easier comparisons with other state programs.

Health Information Exchange
Strategic and Operational Plan Profile

The State of New Jersey is committed to building on existing health information technology and exchange investments in developing a strategy for providers in the state to meet the EHR Incentive Program meaningful use requirements. It has developed a strategy for health information exchange that includes first strengthening exchange in local nodes and then creating a “network-of-networks” linking four regional health information exchange organizations (RHIOs) to create statewide coverage.

Model and Services
The New Jersey plan builds the capacity of local/regional exchange efforts. The state will use a large portion of the funds to support four local RHIOs in increasing data liquidity and supporting providers in achieving meaningful use. The work to strengthen the capacity of local exchange will be paired with strategic policy and operational interventions to increase lab data liquidity and e-prescribing participation statewide:
• Enable lab results delivery from Quest Diagnostics using the NHIN Direct specifications.
• Implement regulations that will require commercial and private laboratories to make electronically interfaced laboratory result transactions available to physician EHRs and regional HIEs at no extra cost to physicians.
• Implement a statewide education program on e-prescribing that targets the 15% of pharmacies not currently enabled for this functionality. This includes identification and monitoring of the targeted pharmacies.
In a later phase, that state will support node to node exchange and other services. The planned statewide services will include:
• Statewide broker/backbone that will connect HIEs
o Record locator services to find location of patient records across the state
o Patient health record services
• State-provided data from key registries (Immunization, Lead, Public Health, etc.)
• State-provided data on Medicaid Medication History
• State-provided Master Patient Index/Master Client Index (MPI/MCI)
• NJHIN stored “master” Record Locator Service for Standalone
EHRs and out-of-state provider access

• Supporting Innovation: New Jersey has a special focus on incentivizing creative innovation within the state. They have established the HIT Innovation Center which is a partnership between the St. Barnabus healthcare system and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. There is a program under development to use NJIT students to create and develop HIT applications as well. The HIT Coordinator Office, the NJ-HITEC and the Innovation Center will be sponsoring an Innovation Summit in early 2011 to feature pilot projects already in place as well as special projects for future consideration. They also continue to emphasize and support a number of innovative projects currently in place across the state including:
o Meridian Home Health Pilot
o Bergen Regional Center Behavioral Health Pilot
o Virtua – Personal Health Records
o St Joe’s – Telemedicine

• Advancing Multi-State Collaboration: New Jersey has expressed an interest in leading new multi-state coordination activities for the mid-Atlantic region. All multi-state HIE coordination initiatives New Jersey is exploring will be in accordance with NHIN standards for communication and interaction. These include:
o Hosting a multi-state collaboration event – New Jersey plans to host its own multi-state collaboration event with surrounding states, to focus on sharing of plans and establishing an interstate approach for secure HIE.
o Project Management focus on multi-state pilots – New Jersey plans to assign full-time project management support to oversee and coordinate several interstate secure HIE pilot initiatives.
o Regional HIE data exchange – Three regional HIEs (South Jersey HIE, the Virtua HIE, and the South Jersey Health System HIE) have plans to exchange data in late 2010/early 2011 with Fox Chase Cancer Center’s HIE, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

[ONC issued new guidance to State HIE Programs on July 6, 2010, in the form of a Program Information Notice, which established "The immediate priority of the State HIE Program is to ensure that all eligible providers within every state have at least one option available to them to meet the HIE requirements of meaningful use in 2011... (and therefore) states and SDEs shall outline in their State Strategic and Operational Plans (state plans) a concrete and operationally feasible plan to address and enable these three HIE capabilities in the next year:
1. E-prescribing
2. Receipt of structured lab results
3. Sharing patient care summaries across unaffiliated organizations]

NJ E-Prescribing Landscape
As of the end of 2009, there are 1,609 community active pharmacies capable of filling e-prescriptions. This figure excludes hospital pharmacies, but includes both chain and independent facilities (both retail and closed) and represents an 85% adoption rate across pharmacies in New Jersey. A total of 2,696 physicians routed prescriptions electronically in New Jersey, representing a 15% e-prescribing adoption rate for physicians in New Jersey.
NJ E-Prescribing Strategy
The State HIT Coordinator’s office, working NJ-HITEC, the NJ Dept of Health and Senior Services, and state associations, will develop a new program tentatively titled “ePrescribing New Jersey” to target pharmacists, clinicians, and consumers. In January, the state will develop the list of pharmacies who do not offer ePrescribing by matching Surescripts’ list of ePrescribing pharmacies against the NJ Board of Pharmacy’s list of all licensed pharmacies in the state. In February, the Coordinator’s office, working with the Department of Health and Board of Pharmacy will develop information on ePrescribing in the form of a course, handouts, and Web pages (part of the state HIT Coordinator’s Web site). In March, the state and REC will coordinate the start of a series of educational sessions with the HIEs to target non-eRx pharmacies, consumers, and clinicians.

NJ Structured Lab Results Landscape
New Jersey has 5,703 Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)-recognized laboratories with various certifications. Of these, there are 85 CLIA-accredited independent clinical laboratories, 4,079 recognized physician office laboratories, and 134 CLIA-accredited hospital-based clinical laboratories in the State.

Electronic sharing of laboratory orders and results within hospitals is already a generally accepted practice for all hospitals in New Jersey.

National laboratories have a large presence in New Jersey. These laboratory companies provide connectivity solutions to many state hospitals and healthcare providers for the exchange of electronic lab orders and results. Three of the largest independent clinical laboratories in New Jersey (Quest Diagnostics Inc., Laboratory Corporation of America, and Bio-Reference Laboratories) are able to directly interface with numerous electronic health record (EHR) systems. These interfaces allow for EHR systems to send lab orders electronically and receive results that can be downloaded directly into the EHR. Other connectivity solutions offered by laboratory companies in the State include proprietary portals for requesting lab orders and receiving results.

While the capability to exchange lab orders and results exists within the State, healthcare providers and regional health information exchange organizations have had varying levels of success incorporating laboratory data from commercial laboratory companies into their electronic health information exchange environments. Hospitals and health information exchange organizations that want to exchange lab data with independent laboratories are required to build custom interfaces to support these integration points and to incur ongoing transaction costs. The resulting drain on monetary and human resources for these point-to-point interfaces for electronic laboratory data exchange continues to be an adoption-limiting factor in the State.
NJ Structured Lab Results Strategy
New Jersey will approach the adoption of electronic transmission of lab results by leveraging the NJHINT law S323 and the regulations already in place for the electronic reporting of medical data to the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services. The Office of Statewide HIT Coordinator will pursue statutory and regulatory avenues in 2010/2011 that will require commercial and private laboratories to make electronically interfaced laboratory result transactions available to physician EHRs and regional HIEs at no extra cost to physicians (replacing traditional means such as faxing of results).

NJ Patient Care Summary Landscape
There is minimal current activity in the state related to the sharing of patient care summaries.
NJ Patient Care Summary Strategy
New Jersey is taking several approaches to enable this requirement. The primary mechanism is to pursue certification processes and participation agreements with the HIEs that will require them to support the exchange of Patient Care Summaries (PCS) with Physician EHRs and other HIEs in order to be eligible for state-sponsored funding and related state benefits.

State Medicaid EHR Programs’ Expected Rollout Dates Released by CMS

Going Beyond the January and February 2011 State Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Rollout Dates and Web sites
Beyond the rollout dates of January and February 2011 for 14 state Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the anticipated dates for the program to go live in the balance of the states and territories as of December 15, 2010. State and territory Medicaid information sites are also shown.

The CMS EHR Incentive Programs Spotlight Page listed the states that will have their State EHR Medicaid programs ready in the first two months of 2011.

Registration opens in the following states on January 3, 2011:

  • Alaska
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Oklahoma
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

Registration opens in the following states in February 2011:

  • California
  • Missouri
  • North Dakota

List of all states and territories with expected dates they reported to CMS when they anticipate their state/territory Medicaid EHR programs to be ready. [The list in PDF form was dated December 15, 2010, and was included in 1/3/2011 update of a CMS FAQ on how dual eligible (Medicare and Medicaid) hospitals should register.]

“The Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is a voluntary program established by Congress, but administered individually by each State and territory. While we currently estimate that every State will have an Incentive Program in the future, the preparation for the program varies from State to State. Below is the estimated date each State [and territory] intends to begin accepting registrations for their Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. These dates are provided to CMS by the States, and this list is updated monthly. Even States that are listed as “Unknown” are progressing toward program launch; however, they have not provided CMS with an estimated launch date [as of December 15, 2010].”

State EHR Medicaid Registration Dates and Web sites

State Expected Launch Date Program URL
AK January 2011
AL March 2011
AR Spring 2011
AS Unknown No State URL Known
AZ Unknown
CA February 2011
CO Unknown
CT Unknown
DC Unknown No State URL Known
DE Spring 2011
FL Unknown
GA Unknown,2086,31446711_154959664_156789923,00.html
GU Unknown
HI Unknown
IA January 2011
ID Fall 2011
IL late Spring 2011
IN Mid-2011
KS June 2011
KY January 2011
LA January 2011
MA Unknown No State URL Known
MD Unknown
ME August 2011
MI January 2011
MN Fall 2011
MO February 2011
MP Unknown No State URL Known
MS January 2011
MT Spring 2011
NC January 2011
ND February 2011
NE Fall 2011
NH Winter 2011/2012
NJ Unknown No State URL Known
NM Unknown
NV Summer 2011
NY September 2011
OH Unknown
OK January 2011
OR Summer 2011
PA Unknown
PR Unknown
RI June 2011
SC January 2011
SD Fall 2011
TN January 2011
TX January 2011
UT September 2011
VA Fall 2011
VI Unknown No State URL Known
VT Unknown
WA April 2011
WI Unknown
WV Unknown No State URL Known
WY Summer 2011

As of December 15, 2010.

Blumenthal Blogs on HIT Taskforce Guidance on Federal Health IT

HIT Taskforce Guidance on Health IT
Friday, January 7th, 2011 | Posted by: Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health IT on ONC’s Health IT Buzz blog and reposted here by e-Healthcare Marketing.

In September 2010, Vivek Kundra, the Federal Chief Information Officer, and I issued guidance articulating five key health IT policy and technology principles for Federal health IT projects. The goal of these principles is to encourage better strategic alignment of health IT investments by guiding modernization strategies for existing systems, as well as new investment decisions. Agencies were asked to demonstrate how they plan to incorporate the following policy and technology principles into future health IT investments and to provide specific examples from their fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget submissions:

  • Improving health and health care: Agencies should design their health IT systems to support clinical decision-making and to measurably improve long term outcomes. For FY 2012, agencies will be asked to demonstrate their support for the universal attainment of Meaningful Use either by, if eligible, becoming Meaningful Users themselves or by assisting and encouraging others that are eligible, to become Meaningful Users.
  • Promoting open government: Agencies should share information with their clients/patients, when possible and practicable. An FY 2012 priority is providing clients/patients a secure, timely, electronic copy of their own information in a format they can use and reuse.
  • Securely sharing health information between providers for treatment purposes to enable better care: Agencies should ensure Federal HIT systems are interoperable.  In FY 2012, agencies should use standards and specifications adopted under the HITECH Act in communicating between applications and organizations.
  • Being a trusted steward of taxpayer dollars: Agencies should incorporate interoperable voluntary consensus standards and terminologies where available, and contribute to their ongoing development, as their missions provide for and their resources permit. To this end, FY 2012 investments should use and re-use common, interoperable voluntary consensus standards and terminology, as well as employ modular, flexible solutions to ensure health IT systems are built for re-use and evolution.
  • Protecting privacy and security: Agencies should align their health IT investments with the Fair Information Practice Principles and demonstrate this alignment in FY 2012.

Following submission, agency plans underwent a rigorous peer review process, and representatives from HHS, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security Administration, and Office of Personnel Management took an active role in evaluating the investments of the various Federal counterparts.

The development of principles and the use of peer review to review Federal health IT expenditures constitute a novel basis for coordinating these expenditures and providing the best possible advice to sister agencies.  In the future, we hope that this process will result in valuable learning for managers of health IT in the Federal Government, and lead to better value for patients and taxpayers.

To comment directly on this post, please go to ONC’s Health IT Buzz blog.

ONC Presents “Spotlight on Health IT in the News”

Spotlight on Health IT in the News
Excerpted this new feature from Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT  site, first  published on 1/5/2010 and updated on 1/6/2010.

  1. Blumenthal Looks Back at 2010, Offers Peek Into Plans for 2011
    Q&A with David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
    iHealthBeat, January 3, 2011

    Dr. Blumenthal discusses the challenges ONC faced in 2010, plans for 2011, and the importance of health information technology (health IT) to the implementation of federal health reform law.

  2. Electronic Health Records: Potential to Transform Medical Education
    By Sachin H. Jain, M.D., M.B.A., Special Assistant to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and Bryant A. Adibe, B.S., Executive Director, Young Achievers Foundation
    The American Journal of Managed Care, December 22, 2010

    Dr. Jain and Bryant Adibe examine the ways in which EHR adoption can lead to improved patient-centered approaches to physician training.

  3. Healthcare Information Technology Interventions to Improve Cardiovascular and Diabetes Medication Adherence
    By Sachin H. Jain, M.D., M.B.A., Special Assistant to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, et al.
    The American Journal of Managed Care, December 22, 2010

    This literature review discusses health IT interventions designed to improve medication adherence in cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

  4. Alternative Measures of Electronic Health Record Adoption Among Hospitals
    By Melinda J. Beeuwkes Buntin, Ph.D., Director, Office of Economic Analysis and Modeling, and Charles P. Friedman, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, ONC
    The American Journal of Managed Care, December 22, 2010

    This study examines the type of EHR functions that hospitals have adopted.

  5. Using Electronic Prescribing Transaction Data to Estimate Electronic Health Record Adoption
    By Farzad Mostashari, M.D., Sc.M., Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy; Melinda J. Beeuwkes Buntin, Ph.D., Director, Office of Economic Analysis and Modeling; and Emily Ruth Maxson, Duke University School of Medicine
    The American Journal of Managed Care, December 22, 2010

    This study investigates whether electronic prescribing transaction data can be used to accurately and efficiently track national and regional electronic health record adoption.

  6. Health Information Technology Is Leading Multisector Health System Transformation
    By David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Sachin H. Jain, M.D., M.B.A., Special Assistant to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
    The American Journal of Managed Care, December 17, 2010

    Dr. Blumenthal and Dr. Jain discuss the impact of the HITECH Act on health information technology (health IT) adoption and provide an overview of the content found in the journal’s special issue on health IT.

  7. Uniting the Tribes of Health System Improvement
    By Aaron McKethan, Ph.D., Program Director, and Craig Brammer, Deputy Director, Beacon Community Program
    The American Journal of Managed Care, December 17, 2010

    Dr. McKethan and Craig Brammer discuss how multiple interventions and simultaneously implemented tools are required to transform the U.S. health care system.

  8. Regional Quality Initiatives: Expanding the Partnership
    Blog post by David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; Carolyn Clancy, M.D., Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)
    Health Affairs Blog, December 9, 2010

    This joint ONC, AHRQ, and RWJF blog post discusses how dozens of diverse regions of the country are benefiting from an unprecedented commitment of resources and technical expertise to help local leaders improve the quality of health care provided in their region.
  9. Perspective: Dr. David Blumenthal on Health Information Technology
    Q&A with David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, November 19, 2010

    Dr. Blumenthal discusses provider involvement in implementation of health IT as part of a videotaped interview during the Medical Group Management Association 2010 conference, held October 24-27.

10.  Fed Health Tech Chief Talks about E-Medical Records
Q&A with David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
The Texas Tribune, October 21, 2010

Dr. Blumenthal discusses the benefits of electronic health records and protections for patient privacy. 

11.  Beacons for Better Health
By Aaron McKethan, Ph.D., Program Director, and Craig Brammer, Deputy Director, Beacon Community Program
Health Affairs Blog, September 23, 2010

Dr. McKethan and Mr. Brammer discuss how Beacon Communities will showcase ways that health information technology is being used to support providers in delivering improved patient care.

12.  This Doctor’s Task: Get Hospitals to Go Digital
Q&A with David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
Federal, September 13, 2010

Dr. Blumenthal elaborates on ONC’s efforts to encourage the electronic transformation of health care delivery on the national and local levels.

13.  The Push for Electronic Medical Records (listen to audio file)
Interview with David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
Vermont Public Radio, September 9, 2010

Dr. Blumenthal speaks to Vermont Public Radio about the Vermont Information Technology Leaders Summit and how the state’s hospitals and providers can increase their electronic health records adoption.

14.  Beaconology for Beginners: A Chat with ONC’s Aaron McKethan
Aaron McKethan, Ph.D., Program Director, Beacon Community Program
CMIO Blog, September 7, 2010

Dr. McKethan chats with CMIO about producing community-level clinical performance measures as modeled by the Beacon Community Program.

15.  Strengthening the Gulf’s Health-Care Infrastructure for Generations to Come
By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Huffington Post, August 27, 2010

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discusses rebuilding the health-care infrastructure to meet the Gulf communities’ long-term medical needs, including efforts by Beacon Communities to help providers move from paper files into the digital age.

16.  The New Momentum Behind Electronic Health Records
By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
KHN Blog, Kaiser Health News, August 26, 2010

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius details the benefits of health IT adoption for the entire health care system. 

17.  Health Information Technology Program Receives $2.7 Million in Federal Funding, Graduates First Class of Students This Summer
University of Texas at Austin Website, August 26, 2010

University of Texas at Austin graduates the nation’s first class of students from its federally funded health IT workforce development program.

18.  Adoption and Meaningful Use of EHRs – The Journey Begins
By David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; and Don Berwick, M.D., Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Health Affairs Blog, August 5, 2010

Dr. Blumenthal and Dr. Berwick explain the need for federal leadership in helping providers nationwide to adopt and utilize health IT for better quality of care.

19.  Perspective: The “Meaningful Use” Regulation for Electronic Health Records
By David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and Marilyn Tavenner, R.N., M.H.A., Principal Deputy Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
New England Journal of Medicine, July 13, 2010

Dr. Blumenthal and Marilyn Tavenner summarize the core objectives of the CMS “Meaningful Use” regulation and how it ties payments to the achievement of advances in health care processes and outcomes.

20.  Perspective: Finding My Way to Electronic Health Records
By Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A.
New England Journal of Medicine, July 13, 2010

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin shares her personal story about understanding the value of electric health records in preserving patient records when disaster strikes.

21.  Health Information Technology: Laying the Infrastructure for National Health Reform [PDF - 146 KB]
By David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; Sachin H. Jain, M.D. M.B.A., Special Assistant to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; and Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin, Ph.D., Senior Economic Advisor, ONC
Health Affairs, June 2010

  1. Drs. Blumenthal, Jain, and Buntin discuss the key ways in which health IT is critical to the implementation of national health reform.

22.  Perspective: Launching HITECH
By David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
New England Journal of Medicine, February 4, 2010

Dr. Blumenthal outlines the HITECH Act as the groundwork for an advanced electronic health information system.

Blumenthal Reviews ONC’s 2010 Accomplishments on ONC Blog

2010 ONC Update Meeting: Advancing the Dialogue on Health IT
Monday, December 27th, 2010 | Posted by: Dr. David Blumenthal on ONC’s Health IT Buzz blog and republished here by e-Healthcare Marketing.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2010 ONC Update on December 14-15, 2010 where we had the opportunity to discuss ONC’s strategies and programs, hear about your experiences in the field, assess progress to date, and get caught up on HITECH’s implementation. Video-recordings of the webcast are now available through the ONC website at

The 2010 ONC Update was held in conjunction with 2010 ONC Grantee Meeting which brought together for the first time the awardees of all of the ONC programs , including the Beacon Communities Program, Regional Extension Center Program, SHARP Program, State Health Information Exchange Program, and the many Workforce Development Programs.

This year, significant strides were made in health information technology. And for us, information technology has always been a means to an end, the end of improving health, improving the health system, making the lives of our fellow Americans better, making our nation’s health professionals and institutions able to live up to their aspirations, empowering Americans to have and take control of their own health and lives. These are the reasons why the Congress and the President enacted the HITECH Act and the reason that the Office of the National Coordinator exists today.

But, of course, there are many organizations and groups that have those high aspirations. Our unique contribution comes from a core insight that good intentions have to be powered by strong capabilities. And science and technology have created for us an enormously powerful new set of tools in the form of health information technology.

We are here to make sure that those tools are used fully to realize our collective aspirations. Information is the lifeblood of medicine. As health professionals and institutions, we are only as good as the information we have about the patients that we care for. Health IT is destined to be the circulatory system for that information in the decades to come.

The last several months have been a whirlwind of activity. And it is easy to forget how much we’ve accomplished. We established the meaningful use framework, one that I think is unprecedented in the history of electronic health information systems. No other country has laid out a similar framework for what can and should be accomplished using health information technology. And on January 3, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will launch the registration process for those who wish to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

We’ve issued a standards and certification regulation. As of this week, we have five certifying bodies that are available to certify electronic health records. They’ve certified more than 200 records and modules in the several months since they’ve been in existence.

Regional extension centers – 62 of them are working hard to provide hands-on assistance to those providers that need the most help in making this transition. As of this week, 30,000 physicians have already enrolled in these extension programs across the United States.

The State Health Information Exchange Program has provided 56 states and territories with planning grants. More than 20 of these states and territories have approved implementation plans, and new implementation plans are being approved every day.

Seventeen Beacon Communities are now in place. They didn’t exist a year ago. They are paving the way toward real improvements in health and health care in the communities they serve, leveraging health information technology. The SHARP Program is tackling new challenges through research and development.

And ONC’s Workforce Development Programs are preparing a whole new workforce and creating new jobs to support the transformation of our health care system through the use of information technology. To date, we have seen almost 2,300 new enrollees in community college programs and close to 400 in University‑based Training Programs focused on health information technology. And we are well on our way in these very early stages toward meeting that target of 10,000 new health professionals trained annually during the lifetime of the program.

In addition to our grants, we have dozens of contracts that are supporting programs like the Nationwide Health Information Network. And our Health IT Policy Committee and Health IT Standards Committee continue to provide enormously valuable guidance on the many policies and standards that are needed to support execution against our mission.

All of these efforts not only play a critical role in our strategy related to the improvement of health and health care through information technology, but also provide the foundation for health systems change and upcoming reforms in how we deliver and pay for care.

As we look to 2011, there will be many challenges. Driving change is hard. And it takes leadership, commitment and the ability to move forward – despite the many obstacles that each of you will encounter. I hope your sense of contributing something unique to health care and the American people – for most certainly you are – balances the incredibly hard work that you are undertaking. Someday you will look back and realize that you were present at the creation of something big.

Thanks again, and we look forward to our continued collaboration in the new year.
###To comment directly on ONC’s Health IT Buzz Blog, click here.
See Blumenthal Letter #22 on e-Healthcare Marketing.

Blumenthal Letter #22: Ready for Jan 3 EHR Incentives Registration?

Registration for EHR Incentive Programs
Starts January 3, 2011: Are You Ready?

Dr. David Blumenthal

Dr. David Blumenthal

A Message from Dr. David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
December 27, 2010

Published by ONC on 12/27/2010 and republished here.

The New Year is just around the corner, and so is another milestone in our nation’s work to improve health care through health information technology. Starting on January 3, 2011, eligible health care professionals, hospitals, and critical access hospitals may register to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

This is an auspicious time. Nearly two years ago, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was signed into law. Since then Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies like the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and others have implemented HITECH policies and programs to help providers adopt and achieve meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology and ensure that electronic health information remains private and secure.

[See Blumenthal's review of 2010, originally posted on ONC's Health IT Buzz blog.]

Why Become a Meaningful User?

Qualify for financial incentives from the federal government
Eligible professionals who demonstrate meaningful use have the opportunity to receive incentive payments through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs—up to $44,000 from Medicare, or $63,750 from Medicaid.  Under both Medicare and Medicaid, eligible hospitals may receive millions of dollars for implementing and meaningfully using certified EHR technology. Providers can get started now with the help of financial incentives from the federal government. If they wait, those incentives may not be available. And financial penalties are scheduled to take effect in five years. 

Build a sustainable medical practice
The next generation of health care professionals will expect and demand that their own medical facility home have a state-of-the-art information system.  Becoming a meaningful user of electronic health records will allow providers who are building their practices to recruit and retain talented young clinicians.

Improve the safety and quality of health care 
The meaningful use of electronic health records will help health care providers and hospitals offer higher quality and safer care. By adopting electronic health records in a meaningful way, providers and hospitals can:

  • See the whole picture. All of a patient’s health information—medical history, diagnoses, medications, lab and test results—is in one place. Providers don’t have to settle for a snapshot when they can have the entire album.
  • Coordinate care. Providers involved in a patient’s care can access, enter, and share information in an electronic health record.
  • Make better decisions. With more comprehensive health information at their fingertips, providers can make better testing, diagnostic, and treatment decisions.
  • Save time and money. Providers who have implemented electronic health records say they spend less time searching for paper charts, transcribing, calling labs or pharmacies, reporting, and fixing coding errors.

ONC and CMS: Here To Help

Registration for the incentive programs may be close at hand, but so is assistance. If you need help in registering for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs or selecting a certified EHR system, ONC and CMS have resources and services to help you.

  • The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs website contains educational resources and fact sheets with information to help eligible professionals and hospitals adopt, implement, and upgrade certified EHR technology and demonstrate meaningful use to receive EHR incentive payments.
  • Regional Extension Centers, which cover every region of the country, provide on-the-ground technical assistance to health care providers working to adopt and meaningfully use certified EHR technology.
  • The Health IT Workforce Development Program prepares skilled workers for new jobs in health IT.

Connecting to Your Community
ONC also has other programs in place to help advance the meaningful use of certified EHR technology and health information exchange:

As 2010 comes to a close, we are well on our way as a nation to achieving the benefits of widespread adoption of EHRs. If you haven’t made any preparations to register to receive incentive payments, I encourage you to get started now. Resolve today to become a meaningful user in 2011.

David Blumenthal, MD, MPP
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology 
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) encourages you to share this information as we work together to enhance the quality, safety and value of care and the health of all Americans through the use of electronic health records and health information technology.

For more information and to receive regular updates from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, please subscribe to our Health IT News list.

Health IT Special Issue of The American Journal of Managed Care: Dec 2010

AJMC Publishes Health Information Technology Special Issue Online Dec 20, 2010
“Featuring scholarly articles and perspectives from policymakers, payers, providers, pharmaceutical companies, health IT vendors, health services researchers, patients, and medical educators, this [December 2010 special] issue of  The American Journal of Managed Care is a reflection” of  “the  dramatic growth of interest in the potential for HIT to improve health and healthcare delivery,” writes Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA and David Blumenthal, MD, MPP in their introductory article titled “Health Information Technology Is Leading Multisector Health System Transformation.”  Both Jain and Blumenthal are with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Authors of 23 Articles in Special Issue
Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA; and, David Blumenthal, MD, MPP; Cynthia L. Bero, MPH; and Thomas H. Lee, MD; Aaron McKethan, PhD; and Craig Brammer; John Glaser, PhD; Pete Stark; Newt Gingrich, PhD, MA; and Malik Hasan, MD; James N. Ciriello, MS; and Nalin Kulatilaka, PhD, MS; Seth B. Cohen, MBA, MPA; Kurt D. Grote, MD; Wayne E. Pietraszek, MBA; and Francois Laflamme, MBA; Amol S. Navathe, MD, PhD; and Patrick H. Conway, MD, MSc; Reed V. Tuckson, MD; Denenn Vojta, MD; and Andrew M. Slavitt, MBA; Marc M. Triola, MD; Erica Friedman, MD; Christopher Cimino, MD; Enid M. Geyer, MLS, MBA; Jo Wiederhorn, MSW; and Crystal Mainiero; Nancy L. Davis, PhD; Lloyd Myers, RPh; and Zachary E. Myers; Bryant A. Adibe, BS; and Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA; Spencer S. Jones, PhD; John L. Adams, PhD; Eric C. Schneider, MD; Jeanne S. Ringel, PhD; and Elizabeth A. McGlynn, PhD; Jeffrey L. Schnipper, MD, MPH; Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH; Matvey B. Palchuk, MD, MS; D. Tony Yu, MD; Kerry E. McColgan, BA; Lynn A. Volk, MHS; Ruslana Tsurikova, MA; Andrea J. Melnikas, BA; Jonathan S. Einbinder, MD, MBA; and Blackford Middleton, MD, MPH, MS;Alexander S. Misono, BA; Sarah L. Cutrona, MD, MPH; Niteesh K. Choudhry, MD, PhD; Michael A. Fischer, MD, MS; Margaret R. Stedman, PhD; Joshua N. Liberman, PhD; Troyen A. Brennan, MD, JD; Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA; and William H. Shrank, MD, MSHS; Amir Dan Rubin, MBA, MHSA; and Virginia A. McFerran, MA; Fredric E. Blavin, MS; Melinda J. Beeuwkes Buntin, PhD; and Charles P. Friedman, PhD Robert D. Hill, PhD; Marilyn K. Luptak, PhD, MSW; Randall W. Rupper, MD, MPH; Byron Bair, MD; Cherie Peterson, RN, MS; Nancy Dailey, MSN, RN-BC; and Bret L. Hicken, PhD, MSPH; Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH; Jeffrey L. Schnipper, MD, MPH; Ruslana Tsurikova, Msc, MA; D. Tony Yu, MD, MPH; Lynn A. Volk, MHS; Andrea J. Melnikas, MPH; Matvey B. Palchuk, MD, MS; Maya Olsha-Yehiav, MS; and Blackford Middleton, MD, MPH, MSc; Emily Ruth Maxson, BS; Melinda J. Beeuwkes Buntin, PhD; and Farzad Mostashari, MD, ScM; Daniel C. Armijo, MHSA; Eric J. Lammers, MPP; and Dean G. Smith, PhD; Katlyn L. Nemani, BA.

Look for an upcoming post on e-Healthcare Marketing reviewing this special issue of AJMC.

Supplemental Challenge Funding to State HIE Programs: FAQs, Slides, Audio from Tech Assistance Call

Supplemental Challenge Funding to State HIE  Programs
FAQs, Slides, Audio from Technical Assistance Conference Call

Excerpted from ONC sites on Dec 23, 2010

  • Closing Date for Applications from State HIEs: January 05, 2011 at 5:00 PM, EST
  • Estimated Total Program Funding: $16,296,562
    Technical Assistance Call
Supports awards in five challenge areas to enable nationwide health information exchange:
§Achieving health goals through health information exchange
§Improving long-term and post-acute care transitions
§Consumer-mediated information exchange
§Enabling enhanced query for patient care
§Fostering population-level analytics

PDF Version

1. How do I determine if my organization is an eligible applicant for this funding opportunity?
Current direct award recipients of the State HIE Cooperative Agreement program are eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. To determine if your organization is the eligible entity in your state, review the most recent Notice of Grant Award for the State HIE Cooperative Agreement Program. The direct award recipient is listed in Box 11 “Recipient Organization.” There are 56 eligible organizations for this funding opportunity.

2. Can we apply for funding to support an unfunded project we discussed in our State Plan submitted under the State HIE Cooperative Agreement program?
Funds under this announcement cannot be used to fund activities already presented in the Strategic and Operational Plans and funded as part of the scope of work under the State HIE Cooperative Agreement. Funds cannot be used to supplant or replace current public or private funding of projects. Funds also cannot be used to supplant ongoing or usual activities of any organization involved in the project. However, if a project was presented in the State Plan but clearly not funded with public or private monies and is not part of ongoing scope of work of an affiliated organization, it may be submitted as part of a project under this funding opportunity.

3. As part of our proposed project, we will contract with a vendor to develop software for use by providers in the project. Please clarify what is meant by “Any IT system components (e.g., software, data models, etc.) developed by the awardees under this funding opportunity will be made available to any state.” Does this mean any IT development must be open source?
No, IT development does not have to be open source. The purpose of this program is to fund innovative technology development and approaches in pilot sites that will then be shared, reused, and leveraged by other states and communities to increase nationwide interoperability. Anything developed with funds under this cooperative agreement must be accessible and usable outside of the pilot site. Successful awardees must demonstrate how the tools, systems, or models developed under this cooperative agreement will be easily adapted and implemented beyond the pilot scope of work.

4. Can we propose a project with a geographic area that overlaps with a Beacon awardee?
While nothing in this funding announcement prohibits an overlap in targeted geographic areas, the scope of work must be different for both projects; funds under this announcement cannot be used to supplant or replace current public or private funding.

5. How should the budget documentation be presented in the application?
Applicants are required to submit a one-year budget for each year of the project period. Please remember that the challenge grants period of performance (project period) ends at the
same time as the current cooperative agreement. Therefore, budgets should only be submitted for the remaining three years in the cooperative agreement since the project periods will be married. Applicants are suggested to use the format included as Appendix A of the Funding Opportunity Announcement. Applicants are also encouraged to refer to Appendix J of the State HIE Cooperative Agreement FOA, which provides an example of the level of detail sought.
A combined multi-year Budget Narrative/Justification, as well as a detailed Budget Narrative/Justification for each year of potential grant funding is also required. Instructions were provided in Appendix I of the State HIE Cooperative Agreement FOA that pertain to completing the SF 424.

6. Can the eligible entity apply for this funding opportunity and then contract or subgrant the substantive work to an outside entity?
The direct award recipient must have direct oversight and accountability for the project. When preparing the budget, the six contractual elements required to be submitted when subawarding a substantial portion of the programmatic work must be included. These are:
I. Name of Contractor: Who is the contractor
II. Method of Selection: ? Identify the name of the proposed contractor and indicate whether the contract is with an institution or organization.
How was the contractor selected
III. Period of Performance: ? State whether the contract is sole source or competitive bid. If an organization is the sole source for the contract, include an explanation as to why this institution is the only able to perform contract services.
How long is the contract period
IV. Scope of Work: ? Specify the beginning and ending dates of the contract.
What will the contractor do
V. Method of Accountability: ? Describe in outcome terms the specific services/tasks to be performed by the contractor as related to the accomplishment of program objectives. Deliverables should be clearly defined.
How will the contractor be monitored
VI. Itemized budget and justification: Provide an itemized budget with appropriate justification. If applicable, include any indirect cost paid under the contract and indirect cost used. Provide a copy of the negotiated indirect cost rate agreement. ? Describe how the progress and performance of the contractor will be monitored during and on close of the contract period. Identify who will be responsible for supervising the contract.

7. Can my state’s eligible entity request funding for more than one challenge theme?
Eligible entities may submit one application per challenge theme; therefore, no more than five applications are permitted from each eligible entity. Each application must clearly indicate the challenge theme addressed. Approximately 10 awards will be made; it is possible for an eligible entity to receive more than one award.

8. Can letters of commitment to the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement be used to demonstrate commitment to this initiative?
Yes. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to include letters of commitment from key program partners and stakeholders that are specific to the project proposed in the application.

9. Some staff supported under the State HIE Cooperative Agreement would be proposed in our application to support the challenge project. Is that allowable? Can we rebudget our State HIE Cooperative Agreement to reflect the staffing shifts?
Applicants are advised that the scope of work and budget for this application must be separate from the funded scope of work in the State Health Information Exchange cooperative agreement. In the event that staff may overlap, please note that ONC will develop a process for successful applicants to finalize the scope of work, staffing, and budget to ensure that successful performance of the Health Information Exchange cooperative agreement is not jeopardized and to assure that funds are not supplanted.

PDF of Funding Announcement
Health Information Exchange Challenge Program Funding Opportunity Announcement

See previous e-Healthcare Marketing post on Challenge Program.

Colleen Woods Asks “Where are the NJ Healthcare Innovators?!!”

From: Colleen Woods, NJ Health IT Coordinator
To: New Jersey Healthcare Innovators,
NJ Health IT Community
Re: Calling for Innovations for Supplemental ONC Funding
Date: Dec 21, 2010
High Priority
Most of you are aware that the Office of the National Coordinator issued a supplemental funding opportunity to the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program.  As required, on December 10th,2010,  I responded that New Jersey would apply for the supplemental funding, knowing that we have many exciting projects in place that could be advanced with just a bit of additional funds.

There are five challenge “themes” that the feds view as potential barriers to full national health information exchange. They are seeking innovative ideas/solutions from those of you who know healthcare delivery the best.  The themes are:
  • Achieving Health Goals through Health Information Exchange
  • Improving Long Term and Post Acute Care Transitions
  • Consumer Mediated Information Exchange
  • Enabling Advance Query for Patient Care
  • Fostering Distributed Population-Level Analytics

For more information please see a PDF of the  ONC’s funding announcement:

Or to see all the funding documents, go to

I know there are a lot of good ideas and projects already underway that would qualify for this funding opportunity. (Jeff, Becky, Jim, Tom, Dave, Tom, Linda, Lou, Judy, Neal, Al, Bob et al…..) , but the award requires a quick response.  Applications need to be sent to by the NJ State Coordinator’s Office ONC by January 5th, 2011. I would proud to submit any ideas you have that would meet the ONC challenge.  Please feel free to call me to discuss.

My best wishes to you and your families for a Happy Holiday Season!


Colleen Woods
NJ Health IT Coordinator
Governor’s Office

Synopsis of the Supplemental State HIE Challenge Program
“This funding announcement for the Health Information Exchange Challenge Program encourages breakthrough progress for nationwide health information exchange in five challenge areas identified as key needs since Federal and State governments began implementation of the HITECH Act. The awards will fund the development of technology and approaches that will be developed in pilot sites and then shared, reused, and leveraged by other states and communities to increase nationwide interoperability. The five themes include: 1. Achieving health goals through health information exchange 2. Improving long-term and post-acute care transitions 3. Giving patients access to their own health information 4. Developing tools and approaches to search for and share granular patient data (such as specific lab results for a given time period) 5. Fostering strategies for population-level analysis Awards will range between $1 million and $2 million each, and will be in the form of supplemental funding to State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreements, which have provided approximately half a billion dollars to states and State designated entities to enable health information exchange. Funding for this initiative is approximately $16 million which ONC anticipates will support 10 awards.”
–Synopsis from