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 January/February 2012 - Subscribe to Health Information Technology and Quality eNews

Health IT and Quality Events

HRSA Events

  • HRSA’s Health IT and Quality Webinar, “Preventing Scope Creep and Cost Over Runs When Implementing a Health IT System” February 17, 2012, 2pm ET (Registration Open)
  • HRSA’s Health IT and Quality Webinar, “Using Health IT for Patient Safety” March 23, 2012, 2pm ET (Registration Open)

Other Federal and Non-Federal Events

  • Health Information Management Systems Society Annual Conference, February 21-24, 2012, Las Vegas, NV. Learn more >> exit disclaimer
  • Mid-Atlantic Telemedicine Resource Center Summit, March 15-16, 2012, Charlottesville Virginia.  Learn more >> exit disclaimer
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' 4th Annual Multi-State Medicaid HITECH Conference, April 10-12, 2012, Baltimore, MD. Learn more >>

The White House and HHS Recognize February as American Heart Month

February is “American Heart Month”  and HRSA is proud to highlight its involvement in the Department of Health and Human Services’(HHS) “Million Hearts” campaign.  Heart disease and stroke are among the leading causes of death in the United States with heart disease attributed to  one in every three deaths in the country.  The “Million Hearts” campaign is a national initiative with an ambitious goal to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. The  campaign  aims to focus, coordinate, and enhance cardiovascular disease prevention activities across the public and private sectors in an unprecedented effort to meet this campaign’s goals in five years.  The “Million Hearts” campaign demonstrates to the American people that improving the health system can save lives.    

Currently, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has several initiatives to support the “Million Hearts” campaign.  These include:

• Letter to all grantees from HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield encouraging alignment of goals of “Million Hearts” campaign;

• Bureau of Primary Health Care  (BPHC) is drafting a white paper with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on cardiovascular health measures;

• Starting this year, BPHC will require all Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) to annually report “ABCS” [Aspirin, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Smoking] measures into their Uniform Data System (UDS) to track and improve performance, including new measures for 2012 on aspirin use and cholesterol screening (approval pending);  

• BPHC will promote Patient-Centered Medical Homes, which encourage care coordination and ongoing measurement and healthcare integration including a focus on health indicators related to cardiovascular disease;

• HRSA’s Office of Women’s Health  is coordinating with HHS’s Office of Women’s Health  on the “Don’t Miss a Beat” Campaign”   focused on cardiovascular care for women; and

• Bureau of Clinician Recruitment and Service’s (BCRS)  "Primary Care for All"  website provides tools and resources for members of the National Health Services Corps . This website includes information on the “Million Hearts” campaign and a link to campaign materials and resources.

Please see the HHS’ “Million Hearts” campaign website for more information.  

New Rural Health IT Toolkit

Through funding by the Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP), the Rural Assistance Center exit disclaimer and the National Rural Health Resource Center exit disclaimer have developed a new Rural Health IT Toolkit exit disclaimer. The toolkit is intended to serve as a resource on health IT for rural health care providers.  This new toolkit includes resources related to understanding health IT, the role of various federal agencies, the legislation mandating meaningful use, and technical assistance resources to support meaningful use.

The new rural health IT toolkit, provides a wealth of information, including:

• Information on finding capital funding;
• Material about training programs available online from community colleges;
• Legislation that impacts health IT; and
• Federal resources for continued project development.

Please click here for more information and to access the new Rural Health IT Toolkit exit disclaimer


New Report to Congress on “Quality Incentives for FQHCs, Rural Health Clinics, and Free Clinics”

In February, a new report was released to Congress  that focused on the  impact of quality incentive programs on Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), rural health clinics (RHCs), and free clinics.  The report , authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, details best practices  regarding quality of care and the use of health IT among these ambulatory safety net providers.

FQHCs, RHCs, and free clinics represent critical components  of the nation’s primary health care for safety net populations.   Collectively, these safety net clinics provide preventive and primary care services at over 10,000 sites across the United States and it’s territories and serve over 25 million patients annually.  However, these providers are often excluded from eligibility for Federal or State financial incentives that are designed to encourage and support improvements in the quality of care or the use of health IT. This new report will help safety net providers understand the current health IT incentives and initiatives that are available.

View full report >>

Health IT Workforce News and Resources

The Health Information Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) Career Services Center is excited to announce its expanded focus to support the health IT and workforce development needs of safety net providers throughout the United States.  Through this effort, Health Recourses and Services’s grantees are able to leverage the HIMSS ® JobMine site to post and search resumes, take advantage of career development services, and post job openings – all at no charge.

HIMSS JobMine – Connecting Health IT Professionals to Safety Net Providers

For more information, please click on one of the links below:

Competency Exam for Health IT Professionals

A limited number of vouchers for individuals to take the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology’s Health IT Professional Competence Exams are currently available to individuals working for HRSA or at a safety net provider setting. These exams enable health IT professionals, employers, and other stakeholders to assess and validate health IT competency levels.  The exams may also be used by employers to identify training gaps and personnel needs integral to achieving meaningful use of electronic health information.

This voucher waives the exam fee for one time only and can be used for any one of the six available exams:   

  • Clinician/Practitioner Consultant
  •    Implementation Manager 
  •    Implementation Support Specialist 
  •    Practice Workflow & Information Management Redesign Specialist 
  •    Technical/Software Support Staff 
  •    Trainer 

For more information about the Competency Exam, please visit ONC’s Competency Examination Program website. 

To request a voucher or for additional questions please contact or visit HRSA’s Health IT Workforce website.

New "Network Guide” for HRSA Grantees

The Network Guide is a directory of Health Center Networks that offers helpful tips to engage directly with potential network partners.  It is a user-friendly resource for grantees of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), safety net providers, and all health care organizations seeking information and technical assistance with their quality improvement and operational efforts.  The Guide is a collaborative project between HRSA and the National Association of Community Health Centers.exit disclaimer

Health Center Networks have a strong history of providing quality service and support to their health center(s) and other member organizations, often at reduced costs achieved by leveraging economies of scale under a shared governance structure.  To support stakeholders in their consideration and selection of a Health Center Network partner, the Guide provides:

• Data from more than 40 networks about their activities in quality and health care delivery improvement, operational management, and HIT in the safety net.

• Twenty five (25) tables of data to enable the user to distinguish among the networks’ different approaches, services, and areas of expertise

The Guide will be routinely updated to include health centers and other networks.

Please go to the Network Guide portal to access the Guide.

Questions can be submitted to

Two New Resources from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

“Guide to Reducing Unintended Consequences of Electronic Health Records”

“Attributes of a Health Literate Organization"exit disclaimer (Published by the IOM)

ICD-10 Update: Not Yet Upgraded to Version 5010?  CMS Issues Steps and New Resources for Providers.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s (CMS) ICD-10’s website now has a section dedicated to Version 5010 information and resources.  Examples include a new fact sheet that outlines the steps providers can take to ensure a fluid transition to Version 5010.

For more information please see HRSA’s ICD-10 Webpage for Safety Net Providers and CMS’s ICD- 10 website.

mhealth News

Secretary Sebelius’s Speech at December’s mHealth Summit

HHS Releases a New Body Mass Index mobile app.

ONC Announces Three Challenges for mHealth-Related Applications

Beacon Communities Launch Texting Program to Assess Diabetes Risk exit disclaimer

HHS Initiative to Develop Best Practices for Mobile Device Use exit disclaimer

For more news, visit the Federal mHealth website .

Meaningful Use Round-Up

CMS: Final Notice Issued on 26 New Quality Measures for Medicaid-Eligible Adults

On January 4, 2012, the  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Federal Register Final Notice (PDF - 358 KB) for 26 health care quality measures for Medicaid-eligible adults.  The quality measures will be used on a voluntary basis and are designed to provide state Medicaid programs, health insurers, and providers a tool for monitoring and evaluating the quality of care provided for adults eligible for Medicaid.  Development of the quality measures was mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The twenty-six measures fall under six categories that are aligned with existing Federal reporting requirements

• Prevention and Health Promotion
• Management of Acute Conditions
• Management of Chronic Conditions
• Family Experience of Care
• Care Coordination
• Availability.

For more information on these 26 measures, please see the Federal Register Notice (PDF- 358 KB).

Quality Improvement Grantee Spotlight Features a Health Center's Use of the Patient Center Medical Home Model to Coordinate Care for Patients

This month HRSA's Quality Improvement website highlights Vermont’s Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region (CHCRR) and describes their use of the patient center medical home (PCMH) model to improve health outcomes and coordinate care for patients. CHCRR uses a comprehensive health care team to help its patients avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and to prevent them from receiving fragmented care. This spotlight describes key components of CHCRR’s use of the PCMH model and explains how it has transformed their delivery of  primary care to patients. In addition, this spotlight describes how CHCRR uses health information technology and patient data to enable their PCMH to coordinate and deliver high quality patient centered care to better serve their patient population.

To read more about this grantee's story, as well as additional grantee stories, visit the Quality Improvement Grantee Spotlight webpage. 

Health IT Grantee Spotlight - “UC Davis Children’s Hospital Uses Telehealth to Provide Critical Care to Children Rural Hospitals”

This month HRSA’s Health IT Web site is pleased to highlight the work of the University of California, Davis Children’s Hospital (UCDCH) for its efforts in the advancement of telemedicine. UCDCH has several years of experience in using telemedicine to improve access to trauma and emergency care for children treated in rural and/or underserved hospitals in Northern California. UCDCH and has also pioneered new technological applications to telecardiology.  

To read more about this grantee's story, as well as additional grantee stories, visit the Health IT Grantee Spotlight webpage.

Quality News

February is National Heart  Month (02/01/2012)

HHS Launches Health IT Challenge to *Improve Care Transitions for Hospital-Discharge Patients (01/26/2012)

Report to Congress: Quality Incentives for FQHCs, Rural Health Clinics, and Free Clinics (01/26/2012)

New Health Affairs Article by HHS Asst. Secretary Dr. Howard Koh and Former CMS Administrator Dr. Don Berwick, “New Federal Policy Initiatives To Boost Health Literacy Can Help The Nation Move Beyond The Cycle Of Costly ‘Crisis Care’”exit disclaimer  (01/19/2012)

Dr. Wakefield Interview on ACOs, Healthcenters, and Strengthening the Healthcare Workforce exit disclaimer (01/10/2012)

More  Quality Improvement News >>

Health IT News

Primary Care Development Corporation and Crescent City Beacon Community Partner to Transform Primary Care exit disclaimer (02/06/2012)

HHS Launches Health IT Challenge to *Improve Care Transitions for Hospital-Discharge Patients (01/26/2012)

Report to Congress: Quality Incentives for FQHCs, Rural Health Clinics, and Free Clinics (01/26/2012)

New Health IT Toolbox Targets Rural Health Providers exit disclaimer (01/26/2012)

CMS Releases Guidance on Appeals Process for Meaningful Use Program (01/24/2012)

More Health IT News >>