Health IT Policy and Standards Committees Discuss Quality Payment Program and Enhanced Oversight Rule

On Tuesday, December 6, the Health IT Policy Committee and Health IT Standards Committee, Federal Advisory Committees to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), convened for an in-person joint meeting. Dr. Jon White, Deputy National Coordinator at ONC, provided insights on ONC’s transition into the new administration and reassured attendees that they can expect a smooth transition and that ONC will continue moving forward with its statutory mission.  Dr. White also noted that ONC will be transparent with its move to a new Federal Advisory Committee structure set in the 21st Century Cures bill, if the legislation is enacted. 

Dr. Kate Goodrich with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provided an overview of the MACRA Quality Payment Program. Dr. Goodrich touched on strategic goals of the program and went into detail around the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) such as participation in MIPS and how eligible clinicians can “pick their pace”, reporting periods, and MIPS performance category improvement activities.  Surveillance and information blocking attestations were also discussed along with an introduction to Advanced Alternative Payment Models.  Dr. Goodrich also touched on technical assistance and support and encouraged the audience to visit the Quality Payment Program Service Center at qpp.cms.gov for more information.

Elise Sweeney Anthony and Michael Lipinski with ONC presented on the ONC Health IT Certification Program: Enhanced Oversight Accountability Final Rule.  The final rule updates the ONC Health IT Certification Program with provisions that are intended to enhance oversight and health IT developer accountability.  The final rule focuses on three specific areas: 1) ONC Direct Review of Certified Health IT; 2) Enhanced Oversight/ONC-Authorized Testing Laboratories (ONC-ATLs); and 3) Transparency and Accountability of Identifiable Surveillance Results.  

Finally, Elise Sweeney Anthony announced a new ONC task force that will be focused on public health.  The task force will convene and provide recommendations specifically around Zika response issues such as standardizing pregnancy status questions and data collection in EHRs. The task force is expected to start its work soon over a short duration.  Members of the public who are interested in participating must apply through the FACA database

The next in-person Joint Committee meeting will take place on January 10, 2017, in Washington, DC.  An audio recording of the December 6, meeting can be found on the ONC website.