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CMS to align two quality reporting programs

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Healthcare IT News writes: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will integrate the reporting of quality measures from physicians in its Medicare program using electronic health records with those from providers who demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs under the HITECH Act. The new health reform law requires combining the two programs by Jan. 1, 2012.

Under the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI), physicians who participate in Medicare can receive incentives for reporting various quality measures, a select number of which are aimed at those who want to report using EHRs. Providers who become meaningful users of EHRs, as laid down by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), will also be eligible for incentive payments. A final rule on that is expected soon.

CMS has requested public comment on how it should integrate the two programs, included within a proposed rule about changes in Medicare physician payments for 2011 CMS expects to publish the proposed rule July 13.

According to CMS, meaningful use measures that physicians could use for PQRI reporting through electronic health records include such things as blood pressure measurement for hypertension, body mass index screening and prevention care follow up, and drugs to be avoided in the elderly.

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