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CMS pushes interoperability for LTC

March 3, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Wednesday long-term care facilities can join the health information exchange.

CMS will allow states to request 90 percent enhanced matching funds for additional eligible providers to purchase interoperable technology. The list includes LTC facilities, behavioral health providers, substance abuse treatment centers and other providers that have been slower to adopt technology.

"The free flow of information is hampered when not all doctors, facilities or other practice areas are able to make a complete circuit," says Andy Slavitt, CMS acting administrator and Karen DeSalvo, the national coordinator for health information technology and acting assistant secretary for health, in a CMS blog post.

Adding the additional providers to statewide health information exchange systems will enable seamless sharing of Medicaid patients' health information among doctors and other clinicians to create a more complete care team to determine the best treatment plans, they said.

"The benefits are tangible&mdashfrom care coordination to medication reconciliation to public health reporting," Slavitt and DeSalvo said. "Exchanging care information can support patients with multiple chronic conditions as they navigate specialists, hospitals, primary care, home health care and pharmacies. This investment should also speed the adoption of alternative payment models that focus on the quality rather than the quantity of care provided. As the Medicaid program moves towards paying for quality, technology infrastructure and information exchange is needed for better care coordination."

Slavitt and DeSalvo hinted at the announcement earlier this week at the annual HIMSS 2016 Conference and Exhibition.