Syndromic Surveillance & BioSense 2.0: We need your feedback!

Posted June 24th in Education


About Syndromic Surveillance & BioSense 2.0

In Stage 1 (prior to April 1, 2013) of the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, eligible providers (EPs) and eligible hospitals (EHs) were able to choose one of the three required public health reporting measures as part of their demonstration of the menu set measures for attesting to the Meaningful Use (MU) of certified EHR technology (CEHRT). However, in the state of Kentucky, reporting immunizations (if administering immunizations) was the only option available to EPs and EHs. Starting on April 1, 2013, EPs and EHs can now select syndromic surveillance as a public health reporting option.

Syndromic surveillance (SS) is a type of public health monitoring that uses medical data and statistical analysis to detect unusual activity that merits further investigation. Its primary goal is early detection of infectious diseases to reduce the risk of widespread infection. Syndromic surveillance provides timely public health information, often sooner than a laboratory test can be completed, and allows local, state, and federal public health to detect and respond to outbreaks more quickly.

This requirement is similar to the immunization objective in that providers are required to perform at least one ‘test’ submission of their certified EHR’s capability to send to public health agencies, except where prohibited, with a follow-up submission if successful.  The objective for stage 1 of meaningful use for EPs is the capability to submit electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies and actual submission except where prohibited and in accordance with applicable law and practice. The measure required is to perform at least one test of certified EHR technology’s capability to provide electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies and follow-up submission if the test is successful (unless none of the public health agencies to which an EP submits such information have the capacity to receive the information electronically). For Stage 2 of meaningful use, the measure is the successful ongoing submission of electronic syndromic surveillance data during the entire EHR reporting period.

The objectives and measures for stage 1 and stage 2 of meaningful use for EHs and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) are the same as the eligible providers, but they may also select reportable diseases/labs. Reportable diseases/labs require a lab feed, and hospitals must be using Logical Observations Identifiers, Names and Codes (LOINC). For Stage 2 of MU, syndromic surveillance moves to a core measure for hospitals and remains a menu measure for providers. Hospitals will be required to provide electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies as part of the core MU measures. The automated syndromic surveillance data compiled through Meaningful Use (MU) provides data streams for longer term, ongoing analysis of chronic conditions. Currently, EPs or EHs that do not administer immunizations can continue to choose this public health exclusion and in stage 2 of meaningful use, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), outlines additional exclusions.

In order to attest the syndromic surveillance objective, eligible providers and hospitals must begin the onboarding process with the Kentucky Health Information Exchange (KHIE), in order to submit syndromic surveillance data. The KHIE will monitor the patient demographics for chief complaints and forward the information on to the Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via BioSense 2.0, a CDC web-based solution in the internet cloud where health officials at state and local public health agencies can monitor or assess sydnromic activity within and beyond their jurisdictions.

Click here to view the educational packet that Kentucky REC clients received in the mail.

Your feedback about the material is very important to us. Please take our brief survey here.

New Article by FierceEMR: “Regional Extension Centers Deserve a Round of Applause”

Posted June 21st in News

01.REC Grantee logoFierceEMR published an excellent article yesterday titled “Regional Extension Centers Deserve a Round of Applause.”  The article shines a positive light on the REC program and highlights the REC success stories across the nation. Kentucky REC, in particular, is applauded for the great strides being made in EHR adoption and acceptance in the state of Kentucky.

Regional Extension Centers Deserve a Round of Applause
June 20, 2013 | By Marla Durben Hirsch  | FierceEMR

“When it comes to the government, everyone’s a critic. And of course, the government is low hanging fruit. Putting partisan politics aside, it’s pretty easy to rag on the government for mistakes, strategies that fall short, and general shortcomings, like wasting Medicare dollars.

So it’s refreshing to take a look at a government program that appears to be working: the regional extension centers (RECs). The 62 RECs were charged with helping physician practices and rural, critical access hospitals adopt and meaningfully use electronic health records. This is not the easiest task, as many providers–especially in rural areas–are not tech-savvy, lack the capital to invest in EHRs, and are suspicious of the federal government.

But look at what they’ve done in just three years. The RECs have signed up more than 146,000 providers. They’ve surpassed both their enrollment goal (133 percent) and their “live on EHR” goal (114 percent), and are more than halfway (60 percent) toward their “demonstrate Meaningful Use” goal.

Plus, the RECs are acing their government performance reviews. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that providers who signed up for assistance from a REC were more than twice as likely to have received a Meaningful Use incentive payment. And this week, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General, in the first audit of a REC program, reported that four Texas RECs have been performing their duties so well that OIG had “no recommendations” for improvement. That is a rare accolade, indeed.

And all this despite the RECs’ own admission just a year ago that doctors face obstacles to attaining Meaningful Use.

What I have been the most struck by, though, is the enthusiasm and commitment from the RECs themselves. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with three REC leaders recently–from KentuckyOklahoma and Kansas–and the message from each of them was surprisingly consistent. They’ve all had to deal with roadblocks. All three were passionate about helping their providers, driven to succeed, and happy with their support teams. They believe that they’ve made great strides in EHR adoption and acceptance, and they have.

They’re also working very hard to become self-sustaining when their grant funds from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT run out in 2014, creating partnerships and expanding their services. They want to stay in business and fill the needs they see in their states.

I say kudos.”

See full article here.

See also FierceEMR article: Kentucky REC director: ‘It’s not the technology, it’s the people’ 

Meaningful Use Badge Now Available

Posted June 13th in Meaningful Use, News



As many organizations have discovered, successfully navigating the complex and evolving Meaningful Use landscape can be a daunting task.

The Kentucky REC applauds your efforts and celebrates with you in your success.

To showcase your hard work and dedication to the achievement of Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records, we would like to make this Meaningful User Badge available to you for your website, newsletter, etc.

When clicked on, this badge will link to a web page explaining the Meaningful Use program and why it is such an important feat that you have accomplished.

We hope that this distinction will show your potential and current patients how dedicated you are to improving the quality, safety and efficiency of health care through the promotion of Health IT.

Congratulations on your success!

Get your badge today.


2013 Meaningful Use Survival Seminar Series Huge Success

Posted June 13th in Awards, Event


              Thank you for making our Meaningful Use Survival Seminar Series such a HUGE success.

The turn-out was excellent at each of the 6 events across the Bluegrass:

• Bardstown (March 15): 50 attendees
• Paducah (March 22): 75 attendees
• Hazard (April 12): 50 attendees
• Bowling Green (April 19): 85 attendees
• Somerset (May 10): 70 attendees
• Lexington (May 31): 110 attendees

The seminars provided informational sessions on hot topics in Health Information Technology such as Meaningful Use Stage 2, Privacy and Security, and Meaningful Use Audits.

To kick off each event, local healthcare providers and hospitals were recognized for their leadership in the nationwide transition toward an electronically-enabled health care system.

The Kentucky REC is pleased to welcome these practices and hospitals into an exclusive group of leaders – the Meaningful Use Vanguard (MUV).  MUV is an initiative of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), and is designed to honor, thank, and bring together clinicians who have successfully implemented electronic health records. MUVers (members of the MUV program) serve as local leaders and advisors in this national initiative.

 Congratulations to all award winners!  We are so proud of your efforts!

Bardstown Awards
Bardstown Primary Care
Bardstown Women’s Center
Beverly M Gaines, MD & Associates, PSC
Bluegrass Community Family Practice
Casey County Hospital
Central Kentucky Optometric Associates
Coppola & Dorman PSC
Gay Fulkerson, MD, PSC
Godfrey Godfrey & Eklund PSC
Jane Todd Crawford Memorial Hospital
Kentuckiana Pulmonary Associates
Molloy G. Veal MD, PSC

Paducah Awards
Caldwell Medical Center
Crittenden County Hospital
Family Practice Care
Generations Primary Care
Heartland Cares, Inc.
Infectious Disease Associates
Jackson Purchase Medical Associates
James Eickholz, MD, PSC
Kyle D. Parish, MD, PSC
Livingston Hospital and Health Services, Inc.
Marshall County Hospital
Marshall County Surgical & Medical Group
Murray Medical Associates
Oncology Associates of West Kentucky
Paducah Dermatology
Paducah Primary Care
Total Life Care
Trigg County Hospital
Troy M. Nelson, D.O.
Urology Group of Paducah, PSC
West Kentucky Rheumatology
Western Kentucky Family HealthCare, Inc.
Western Kentucky Neurology

Hazard Awards
Aaron Jonan Memorial Clinic
Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc.
Asthma & Allergy Center
Edwards Clinic, PSC
Hazard Clinic
Hazard Radiology Associates
Internal Medicine of Eastern Kentucky
Juniper Health, Inc.
Kentucky Lung Clinic
Manchester Memorial Hospital & Physician Services
Mark P. Caruso MD
Medical Associates of Southeast Kentucky
Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation
Pediatric Associates of Pikeville
Primary Care Centers of Eastern Kentucky
Prestonsburg Primary Care, PLLC
Salyersville Medical Center
The Doctor’s Office, PLLC

Bowling Green Awards
Bowling Green Warren County Primary Care Center
Breckinridge Memorial Hospital
Caverna Memorial Hospital
Center for Orthopaedic Services
Clinton County Hospital
Cumberland Family Medical Center
First Choice OB/GYN
Graves Gilbert Clinic
Kimberly Y. Eakle, MD
Logan Family Practice
Mohammad Gayasaddin, MD
Nagy H. Morsi, PSC
Ohio County Hospital
Taylor Regional Hospital
Teresa S. Sheffield, APRN, LLC
Timothy D. Hume, MD, LLC
Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center
Western Kentucky Heart and Lung
Wilkes Clinic

Somerset Awards
Breckinridge Memorial Hospital
Clinton County Hospital
Ephraim McDowell Health
Freeman Family Practice
Huffman & Huffman, PSC
Keith Sinclair, MD, PLLC
Lake Cumberland GI & IM Associates
Lake Cumberland Women’s Health Specialists PSC
London Women’s Care
Mohammad Afzal MD Internal Medicine, LLC
Mountain View Family Physicians
P.D. Patel, MD PSC
Phillips Pratt McFarland, PSC
Rockcastle Regional Hospital
Turner Whitley and Morton, PSC
Wayne County Hospital
Westlake Regional Hospital

Lexington Awards
AC Wright, MD PSC
Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc.
Arthritis Center of Lexington
Bluegrass Community Health Center
Bluegrass Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center, PSC
Capital Surgical Clinic
Central Internal Medicine
Children’s Care, PLLC
Corbin Pediatric Associates, PSC
Cynthiana Vision Center
Danville Medical Specialists
Dr. Carl E. Smith Jr, MD
Drs. Borders & Associates, PSC
Eye Care Center Optometrist, PSC
Eye Consultants of Kentucky, PSC
Family Practice Associates of Lexington
Family Care Associates
Fayette Surgical Associates
Frankfort Eye Center
HealthFirst Bluegrass
HMH Physicians Group
Hometown Family Care, PLLC
Kentucky Orthopedic Associates
Lexington Neurology
Lexington Surgeons
Magdalene Karon, MD, PSC
MedEast Physicians PLLC
Metzger Eye Care
Nephrology Associates of Kentuckiana
Pain Management Medicine
Pediatric Associates of Frankfort
Plastic Surgeons of Lexington
Richmond Women’s Health Care
Specialty Orthopaedics, PSC
UK HealthCare
Versailles Family Medicine
Women’s Health Clinic of Cynthiana, PLLC

View University of Kentucky Press Release Here.

Electronic Prescribing Incentive Program Deadline Approaching

Posted June 8th in Education

Online Prescription ConceptA major Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program deadline is approaching for both individual eligible professionals (EPs) and group practices participating in the Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO).  If you are an EP or an eRx GPRO participant, you must successfully report an electronic prescriber before June 30, 2013 or you will experience a payment adjustment in 2014 for professional services covered under Medicare Part B’s Physician Fee Schedule (PFS).

The 2013 eRx Incentive Program 6-month reporting period (January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013) is the final reporting period available to you if you wish to avoid the 2014 eRx payment adjustment.

If you do not successfully report, a payment adjustment of 2.0% will be applied, and you will receive only 98.0% of your Medicare Part B PFS amount for covered professional services in 2014.

 Avoiding the 2014 eRx Payment Adjustment

Individual EPs and eRx GPRO participants who were not successful electronic prescribers in 2012 can avoid 2014 eRx payment adjustment by meeting specified reporting requirements between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013. Below are the 6-month reporting requirements:

  • Individual EPs – 10 eRx events via claims
  • eRx GPRO of 2-24 EPs – 75 eRx events via claims
  • eRx GPRO of 25-99 EPs – 625 eRx events via claims
  • eRx GPRO of 100+ EPs – 2,500 eRx events via claims

Additional resources on the 2014 payment adjustment are available on the CMS eRx Incentive Program Payment Adjustment Information webpage, including the resource Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program: Updates for 2013.