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Category Archives: HIT

CMS answers FAQ's related to Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs. The FAQs provide some detail on the allowable costs that CAHs can report, how costs incurred by home offices and collaborative networks should be handled, as well as the process for submitting cost data after they successfully attest to meeting EHR meaningful use requirements. The full list of CMS EHR FAQs can be found at,26,1139,1147.

HRSA’s Office of Health Information Technology and Quality (OHITQ) has developed a series of HIT Adoption Toolboxes

HRSA’s Office of Health Information Technology and Quality (OHITQ) has developed a series of HIT Adoption Toolboxes to help implement health IT applications in your practice.

The four toolboxes are designed to serve the needs of a broad audience within health centers and other safety net providers.  Key IT stakeholders have reviewed and contributed to the toolboxes to ensure they are accurate, relevant, and effective in supporting health IT in safety net organizations.  Four toolboxes currently are available, and more are planned in the future.

Health IT Adoption Toolbox
Includes resources such as modules, community health center-specific information, and journal resources to assist with health IT implementation.  Topics include financing; staffing and expertise; technology assessment; system implementation; organizational change management and training; evaluating, optimizing, and sustaining; and opportunities for collaboration.

Rural Health IT Adoption Toolbox
Contains a range of resources for rural health providers as they consider implementing health IT.  Topics and modules include telehealth; health IT selection and implementation; project management and staffing; financing and sustainability; opportunities for collaboration; and patient quality improvement, evaluation and optimization.

Health IT for Children Toolbox
A compilation of health IT information targeted at children’s health care needs, ranging from pediatric electronic medical records to children’s health insurance coverage.  Provides specific health IT resources online to support information technology in children’s health promotion and disease prevention, and identifies opportunities to link other systems that serve children, including Head Start, schools, foster care, etc.

Health IT for HIV/AIDS Toolbox
Geared to Ryan White HIV/AIDS providers, the toolbox provides an overview and modules on health IT issues unique to HIV/AIDS. Offers information on potential sources to help HIV/AIDS providers fund health IT systems and qualify for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program (also called “Meaningful Use”).  Includes four modules: (1) selection and implementation of health IT tools; (2) financing health IT; (3) improving quality and efficiency with health IT; and (4) security and privacy issues.

We hope you find these resources useful in your important work.  For more information, you can follow HRSA on Facebook and Twitter @HRSAGov.

Missouri Health Connection Launches Website Features – Helpful Resources, Information for Consumers, Providers

Columbia, MO – Missouri Health Connection’s new website is now live. The site provides information for Missouri consumers and providers, including resources, news, events and background information on Missouri Health Connection’s efforts to improve patient care and public health through the creation of a statewide health information system.

The new site is available at:

The website will be continually updated to ensure Missourians can stay informed of progress in creating Missouri’s statewide system, and how they will be able to get involved.

In addition to the resources and information posted on the website, Missourians can also follow and engage with Missouri Health Connection through its Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In accounts.

Missouri Health Connection is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to connecting Missouri’s patients and health care providers through a secure health information exchange system. The Missouri Health Connection system will ensure patients, providers, physicians, hospitals and other health care organizations have access to critical electronic medical record information in order to improve public health and patient care, reduce costs and empower consumers. For more information, visit

MO HIT Assistance Center Reaches EHR Goal

On July 6, the Missouri Health Information Technology (MO HIT) Assistance Center became the fifth regional extension center in the United States to reach its goal, enrolling nearly 1,200 priority primary health care providers to assist them in achieving meaningful use of an electronic health record.

The MO HIT Assistance Center provides special support and services to health care providers to make the transition to EHRs faster, easier, and more successful. These health care providers are physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who individually, or in a small practice, focus on primary care (Family Practice, Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, or Pediatrics) in Missouri.  The MO HIT Assistance Center, a public-private partnership, bringing together leading health care and information technology experts from health care organizations, academia, industry, and government, provides technical assistance, guidance, and information on the best practices to support and accelerate providers’ effort to become meaningful users of EHR technology.

For information on the Medicaid and Medicare EHR incentive programs, EHR adoption, or how the MO HIT Assistance Center helps health care providers adopt and achieve meaningful use of certified EHRs, please visit the Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance Center Web site, E-mail us, or call us toll-free 1-877-882-9933.

Information on Joining Missouri's Health Information Exchange

Missouri’s Strategic Implementation Process (“MOSNIP”) invites providers to register for attendance at the July 13 meeting in Columbia to hear the latest about Missouri’s Health Information Exchange, ICD-10, and 5010. Membership in MOSNIP provides the benefit of membership in the national Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange – Strategic National Implementation Process (“WEDI SNIP”), and access to all the many resources offered by WEDI SNIP. Click here for registration information.

EHR Helps Joplin Clinic Rise from Rubble in 72 Hours

The devastating tornado that swept through Joplin on May 22 completely destroyed a number of physician offices, including that of Tracy Godfrey, MD, a Family Practitioner with the Family Health Center of Joplin. But thanks to electronic health records, Godfrey had access to all of her patients’ information, and in less than three days after the catastrophe, the practice was able to reopen its doors at a temporary location.

The Missouri Health Information Technology (MO HIT) Assistance Center traveled to Joplin to document Godfrey’s amazing story for “On the Road to EHR Success.”  Godfrey’s experience demonstrates the safety, endurance, and value of electronic health records in the wake of a disaster.   Although Family Health Center of Joplin lost the building and its contents, the practice survived because of the decision made years ago by Cynthia Croy, MD, Godfrey’s partner, to switch the clinic to an EHR.

Patient needs continue, regardless of whether or not Family Health Center of Joplin has an office, Godfrey points out.  In their new temporary home, patients are greeted with a calm, relaxed, and inviting environment, a world away from the clinic’s chaotic disaster zone.  Armed with her laptop and their EHR, Godfrey is free to focus solely on patient needs and not have to worry about recollecting their histories.   It is truly business as normal. 

Godfrey credits their IT specialist, John Motazedi, CEO, SNC2, for the data safety measures that protected their patient files and their rapid response that enabled Family Health Center of Joplin to recover their EHR data so quickly.  Data were backed-up every 15-minutes and was stored on multiple servers, both onsite and at remote locations.  Motazedi urges physicians on an EHR to do frequent data back-up and store it at multiple locations (other than their home) to protect and preserve data in the event of widespread destruction. 

Godfrey and Croy wonder what impact the permanent loss of paper-based practices and their patient health records will have on the health and well-being of their community.  As the people of Joplin struggle to recover and rebuild their lives, the strain could influence their health and possibly place a greater demand for health care services from a smaller pool of health care providers.  To view Godfrey’s full story, click here.

If a disaster struck you, what would be the fate of your practice, patients, and community?  Your practice could survive, if you use an EHR, and have appropriate back-ups.

For information on the Medicaid and Medicare EHR incentive programs, EHR adoption, or how the MO HIT Assistance Center helps health care providers adopt and achieve meaningful use of certified EHRs, please visit the Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance Center Website, E-mail us, or call us toll-free 1-877-882-9933.

Missouri Immunization Information System (IIS) Update

The Department of Health and Senior Services provided an update on the status of the Missouri Immunization Information System (IIS) during an educational session for the Missouri Health Information Technology (MO HIT) Assistance Center on June 15.  The MO HIT Assistance Center is sharing this updated information with providers.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is developing electronic interfaces that will allow providers to exchange immunization data directly with the state from their certified electronic health record (EHR.)  Enabling transmission of data (as opposed to manually entering data as is now required through “ShowMeVax”) holds the best promise for building a comprehensive statewide database. This electronic exchange will also allow providers to meet the meaningful use requirement, “Capability to submit electronic data to immunization registries or Immunization Information Systems and actual submission in accordance with applicable law and practice.”  Providers are required to select one of the two public health measures from the menu set of meaningful use objectives.  (The other public health measure concerns submission of syndromic surveillance data—currently, Missouri is only capable of accepting syndromic surveillance data from hospitals.)  The state is using funds provided through the Health Care Reform law to make the Missouri Immunization Information Systems HL7-compliant.   

The State began this work with providers who contacted them to enable HL7 data messaging with their EHR systems and has successfully enabled HL7 data messaging with the first two providers.  The EHR systems used by these providers are Insight (used by a Public Health Service) and Cerner (being built as a custom interface by a Kansas City hospital).  An additional provider using Epic is beginning work on an interface, and a practice in Joplin is testing an interface using e-MDs.   More than 40 applicants, representing various EHRs, are “in the cue” waiting for assistance with the development of an interface between their systems and DHSS.  DHSS is looking for providers willing to work with DHSS and their vendor to develop and test interfaces.

Providers must “perform at least one test of certified EHR technology’s capacity to submit electronic data to immunization registries and follow-up with submission if the test is successful” to meet meaningful use criteria. To meet this requirement, providers should do the following:

  1. Contact Lori Sprock, MSN, APRN, Missouri Public Health Information Exchange (MoPHIE) Project, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services at  (573) 526-3021. This request must come from the provider, not the vendor. 
  2. The provider should state they are preparing to apply for Meaningful Use and want to test an exchange with the Immunization Information System.
  3. Lori will provide information on conducting the test.
  4. The provider will need to contact their vendor to enable their system to transmit HL7 messages.  The vendor should be able to provide instructions on how to do this.
  5. The test should then be conducted with the vendor and DHSS assistance.
  6. It is highly unlikely that the test will be successful.  However, DHSS will send a letter to the provider stating they completed the test.  This should satisfy the Meaningful Use requirements for 2011.
  7. DHSS will continue working with providers and their vendors to eventually get everyone participating in successful IIS exchange.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact either Lori Sprock, as listed above, or your implementation specialist.

For information on the Medicaid and Medicare EHR incentive programs, EHR adoption, or how the MO HIT Assistance Center helps health care providers adopt and achieve meaningful use of certified EHRs, please visit the Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance Center Website, E-mail us, or call us toll-free 1-877-882-9933.