What’s in a name? Get ready for the feds’ Promoting Interoperability program


The federal EHR Incentive Program – a program most doctors love to hate – is getting a new name to better reflect a focus on interoperability and improved patient access to their health care data, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced.

For clinicians who participate in fee-for-service Medicare, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals, the new name of the program will be the Promoting Interoperability Program. For those participating in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track of the Quality Payment Program (QPP), the Advancing Care Information performance category will be rebranded the Promoting Interoperability performance category.

The changes are a part of an overall initiative called MyHealthEData, which aims to get patients to interact more with their electronic health data and take proactive efforts in their health care decision making.

The first steps of these changes were announced April 25 in the 2019 proposed rule for the inpatient prospective payment system and the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System.

CMS notes in the proposed rule that the name EHR Incentive Program “does not adequately reflect the current status of the programs, as the incentive payments under Medicare generally have ended.” Eligible medical professionals and hospitals have received Medicare bonuses for adopting and demonstrating meaningful use of EHRs. Penalties for not doing so are still in place.

While hospital-based changes have been proposed, changes to office-based practice are expected in the upcoming proposed update to the outpatient prospective payment system, which is typically released shortly after the inpatient prospective payment system proposed update.

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