To advance the goal that federal health IT policy facilitates better care, better outcomes and lower costs for patients and families, the Consumer Partnership for eHealth (CPeH) provided comments this week on the draft 2015 Edition of Electronic Health Record (EHR) Certification Criteria, released by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) in February. CPeH’s comments largely support the proposed rule, specifically its inclusion of patient- and family-centered criteria and key tenets of CPeH’s Disparities Action Plan. To receive incentive payments under the federal program, providers must use certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology in meaningful ways. CPeH’s recommendations focus on the need to incorporate key functions into certified EHRs more quickly to reduce health disparities and improve patient-centered care planning.
“If adopted, the Proposed Rule is an important next step in the ongoing effort to make sure EHR technology includes essential functionalities that will help meet the needs of patients and families,” said Debra L. Ness, president, National Partnership for Women & Families, which leads CPeH. “We are pleased the proposed rule advances the goal of leveraging the Meaningful Use Incentive Program to better identify and reduce health disparities, which are a pervasive and costly problem in our country.”
Ness added, “Given the grave harm disparities cause to patients and families, as well as the strain placed on our health care system by unequal and inefficient care, criteria developed to tackle disparities should be incorporated into EHR technology more quickly than ONC has proposed. We won’t significantly decrease long-term health care costs unless we reduce disparities, and health IT has the potential to be a game-changer in that effort.”
The following organizations have endorsed the comments: AARP; American Association of Birth Centers; American Association on Health and Disability; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); American Heart Association/American Stroke Association; Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations; Bechtel Health; California Center for Rural Policy; Center for Democracy & Technology; Community Action Partnership; Consumers Union; Disability Policy Consortium; Family Caregiver Advocacy; Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund; Fenway Institute; Futures Without Violence; Healthwise Inc.; Health Access California; Informed Medical Decision Making Foundation; National Consumers League; National Council of La Raza; National Health Law Program; National Senior Citizens Law Center; National Partnership for Women & Families; Summit Health Institute for Research and Education, Inc.; The Arc of the United States; The Children’s Partnership; and Mary Anne Sterling, Family Caregiver Advocate.
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.
The Consumer Partnership for e-Health (CPeH) is a non-partisan coalition that has been working since 2005 to ensure that efforts to drive health IT adoption meet the needs of patients and their families. Led by the National Partnership for Women & Families, CPeH includes members from nearly 50 consumer, patient, and labor organizations working at both the national and local levels. The combined membership of CPeH represents more than 127 million Americans. More at www.nationalpartnership.org/hit.