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CHIME Raises Concerns on ACO Data Sharing

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 11, 2011

“Technology will no doubt play a prominent role in the success of any ACO. The amount of data and information exchange between ACO participants will be enormous,” Bill Spooner, senior vice president/CIO at San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare, said in a CHIME media release. “But as the person responsible for lining up those data points, CIOs are really worried about patient data opt-out provisions. We think the simplest answer is to remove patients from ACO participation if they refuse to share their data.”

CHIME, in its comments to CMS, also objected to a requirement that 50% of an ACO’s primary care physicians meet all meaningful use standards for electronic health records by the beginning of the second year of the ACO’s agreement with CMS. “From both patient management and business perspectives, CHIME feels it would not be necessary for an ACO’s PCPs to meet all MU requirements. Similarly, CHIME sees no need for CMS to specify some minimum level of EHR MU performance for the hospitals participating in an ACO,” CHIME said.

Pam McNutt, senior vice president/CIO of Methodist Health System in Dallas, and chair of CHIME’s Policy Steering Committee, said concerns raised in the letter to Berwick speak to the complex technical implications of CMS’s Shared Savings Program. As hospitals look to participate, they will depend on CIOs to understand how ACOs meet the data collection and reporting requirements. We urged CMS in our comments to avoid prescribing technology, such as requiring meaningful use, instead allowing ACOs to make determinations based off their business needs and patient populations.”

CHIME also asked CMS to:
  • Reconsider the proposed use of 65 performance measures in the first year of the ACO program. “CHIME also believes that CMS is underestimating the difficulty of the proposed data validation process,” the letter to CMS said.
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