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Providers Encouraged to Participate in Quality Payment Program (QPP) for COVID-19 Research
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they are “encouraging clinicians who participate in the Quality Payment Program (QPP), such as physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and others, to contribute to scientific research and evidence to fight the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.” This will allow providers to “earn credit in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), a performance-based track of QPP that incentivizes quality and value, for participation in a clinical trial.”
New COVID-19 Reporting App Coming Soon for Providers
Fierce Healthcare reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to release an app, which is “based on Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards,” on May 1 to help “accelerate electronic case reporting (eCR) of COVID-19 cases.” The CDC developed the app from their eCR Now program, to complement “doctor’s offices and hospitals that have electronic health records (EHRs) capable of automating reports” and reduce the need for paper reports.
>> Read More: What is eCR?
Google Launching Cloud Healthcare Application Programming Interface (API)
In response to the CMS’ and the Office of the National Coordinator’s (ONC) Cures Act Final Rule and the COVID-19 pandemic, Google released its API for general use to allow “healthcare organizations to ingest and manage key data from a range of inputs and systems—and then better understand that data through the application of analytics and machine learning in real-time, at scale.” According to Google, the API also enables providers to “rapidly get up and running with a cloud based [sic] FHIR server providing the capabilities needed to implement, scale and support interoperability and patient access.”
CMS Delaying Interoperability Rule Implementation
CMS announced in a statement this week that, “due to the public health emergency posed by COVID-19,” it will “adopt a temporary policy of relaxed enforcement in connection to the implementation of the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule.” The final rule, which was part of the 21st Century Cures Act, “required CMS-regulated payers … to implement and maintain a secure, standards-based Patient Access API … that allows patients to easily access their claims and encounter information, including cost, as well as a defined sub-set of their clinical information through third-party applications of their choice.” The phased implementation deadlines have been pushed to 2021. CMS-regulated payers are required to fully implement all portions of the rule by spring 2021.
>> Read More: CMS Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule
COVID-19 Linked to Increased Antidepressant Use
A new study from Express Scripts, a Cigna company, reveals there has been “an increase in the use of prescription drugs that treat mental health conditions, particularly commonly used anti-anxiety medications known as benzodiazepines.” According to the report, the number of “prescriptions filled per week for antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia medications increased 21 percent between February 16 and March 15.” Simultaneously, “prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications rose 34.1 percent, and also increased for antidepressants (18.6 percent) and anti-insomnia drugs (14.8 percent).”
>> Read More: America’s State of Mind Report