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Health Information Technology and Quality

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Health Information Technology and Quality Newsletter

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February/March 2013 - Subscribe to Health Information Technology and Quality eNews

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Events

HRSA Health IT and Quality Webinar. Friday, March 22, 2PM ET. “Using Clinical Decision Support in Safety Net Provider Settings.” Register Now exit disclaimer

Workforce Issues

Competency Exam for Health IT Professionals

Through an arrangement with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC ), HRSA has secured a limited number of vouchers for the health IT professional competency exams. These exams enable health IT professionals, employers, and other stakeholders to assess and validate their 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 provides the opportunity for health IT professionals to take one of the six exams offered. Individuals and health IT professionals interested in working with safety net providers can request a voucher for taking this professional competency exam.

For more information, visit ONC’s Competency Examination Program website.

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

National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

The 2013 NHSC Loan Repayment Program (LRP) application cycle is now open through April 16, 2013. The program offers primary care medical, dental, and mental and behavioral health providers the opportunity to have their student loans repaid while serving in communities with limited access to care. For more information, please visit:

Affordable Care Act Helps Expand the Use of Health Information Technology

New resources announced to support 37 Health Center Networks across the United States.

HRSA announced new grants that will improve the quality of care at community health centers through implementation and adoption of health information technology (HIT). The grants, totaling more than $18 million in Affordable Care Act funds, will support 37 health center networks made up of health centers across the country.

Health Center Network grants will support the adoption and meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology and technology-enabled quality improvement strategies used in health centers. The networks, comprising at least 10 collaborating health center organizations, are designed to promote enhanced sharing of their respective knowledge and expertise. This network sharing model will also address key operational and clinical needs through a greater program integration.

To access the full list of grantees, visit

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit

Considerations for Oral Health Integration in Primary Care Practice for Children

Considerations for Oral Health Integration in Primary Care Practice for Children is now available on HRSA’s website.
HRSA recently developed Considerations for Oral Health Integration in Primary Care Practice for Children, through a contract with the American Academy of Pediatrics, to educate primary care providers working with children on the uptake of oral health prevention activities into their systems of care. Since the incorporation of oral health activities into a medical practice involves systems change, quality improvement approaches can be more effective than simple didactic training. This module is directed towards training primary care providers serving vulnerable and underserved children to improve oral health and oral health access of this population. Considerations for Oral Health Integration in Primary Care Practice for Children is available to the public at no charge.

To access the module, please visit:

New Rule Protects Patient Privacy, Secures Health Information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) strengthens privacy and security protections for health information established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

The final omnibus rule greatly enhances a patient’s privacy protections, provides individuals new rights to their health information, and strengthens the government’s ability to enforce the law. The changes announced expand many of the requirements to business associates of these entities that receive protected health information, such as contractors and subcontractors. Penalties are increased for noncompliance based on the level of negligence with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per violation. The changes also strengthen the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Breach Notification requirements by clarifying when breaches of unsecured health information must be reported to HHS.

The press release is located at:

New Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Resources: HIPAA and Stark and Anti-Kickback

HRSA’s New Clinical Quality and Performance Measures Toolkit

HRSA’s Clinical Quality and Performance Measures Toolkit now available.

The HRSA Clinical Quality and Performance Measures Toolkit was developed to specifically address the needs of safety net providers seeking to initiate or upgrade their quality activities. This toolkit features proven strategies and techniques to implement or enhance a safety net provider organization's new or existing quality improvement program. The toolkit's wide range of practical, convenient, and useful tools support data collection, program implementation, and performance measurement.

The toolkit also contains clinical quality measure modules focused on critical primary care and chronic disease topics including, but not limited to: screening for cervical, colorectal, and breast cancer; diagnosis and management of diabetes; and screening and hypertension control. These quality improvement resources are adaptable and have been compiled from successful quality improvement initiatives.

For more information, please visit the HRSA Clinical Quality and Performance Measure Toolkit at:

Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant (Network Planning) Program

Program overview and eligibility.

The Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant (Network Planning) program is authorized by the Public Health Service Act, Section 330A (f) (42 U.S.C. 254(c)(f)), as amended. The legislative purpose of this program is to expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services and enhance the delivery of health care in rural areas. This program provides one-year grants up to $85,000 and allows applicants to develop a business or strategic plan, conduct a needs assessment, conduct health information technology readiness and ultimately form a network. Funds cannot be used for direct delivery of health care services.  Successful grantees often apply for the 3 year Network Development implementation grant to continue the work they started under the Network Planning grant.

Lead applicants must be:

  • Located in a Rural County or Eligible Rural Census Tract within an urban county;
  • Public and non-profit entities including faith-based and community organizations; and
  • In a consortium with at least two additional organizations. These two other organizations can be rural, urban, non-profit or for-profit. The consortium should include three or more health care providers that provide or support the delivery of health care.

ontact: Linda Kwon at or (301) 594-4205

For more information, please visit:

New Grantee Spotlights

Health information technology grantee spotlight.

In recognition of American Heart Month, February’s health IT grantee spotlight features Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in its development of the Heart Health Mobile app to identify and reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

Quality improvement grantee spotlight.

February’s quality improvement grantee spotlight focuses on Project Renewal and its innovative approaches to provide high quality patient care to homeless individuals in New York City. This spotlight highlights how Project Renewal has aligned with national quality initiatives to improve the screening and control of hypertension within its patient population.

New Health Information Technology (IT) and Quality Webinar Updates from HRSA

HRSA’s Health IT & Quality Webinars will be completely internet enabled.  To better accommodate participants, viewers can now listen to HRSA webinars through their computer speakers.  This new approach allows viewers to keep their phone lines available for patient services.  Special dial-in numbers and passcodes are made available to users with limited access to broadband or internet. Simply send an email to HRSA’s health IT mailbox at specifically requesting a dial-in number and code.

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Updates

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Updates

Meaningful Use Updates

mHealth Updates

  • Mobile Devices: Know the RISKS. Take the STEPS. PROTECT and SECURE Health Information, an educational initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), includes a set of online tools and practical tips on ways to protect patient health information when using mobile devices. Educational resources include videos, easy-to-download fact sheets, and posters to promote ways to safeguard patient health information.
  • To access these resources, please visit:
  • The HHS press release about the launch is located at:
  • SmokefreeTXT, an initiative of National Institutes of Health (NIH) / National Cancer Institute (NCI), is a mobile service designed for young adults across the United States to provide 24/7 encouragement, advice, and tips to help smokers stop smoking for good. For more information, please visit:

National Quality Forum (NQF) Updates

  • NQF appoints new president/CEO exit disclaimer. The NQF announced the appointment of Dr. Christine Cassel as the organization’s next President and CEO, effective mid-summer 2013.

International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) Update

  • Final rule delays compliance date. On August 24, 2012, HHS Secretary Sebelius announced a final rule  that delays the compliance date for use of the new International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedure codes, or ICD-10, until October 1, 2014. ICD-10 includes codes for new procedures and diagnoses that provide enhanced information for quality improvement and payment purposes.
  • A fact sheet on the final rule is available at The final rule may be viewed at
  • Please see the HRSA ICD-10  or CMS ICD-10 websites for more information.

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