Sending Office: Honorable Mike Thompson
Cosign Letter to HHS: Improve Physician Electronic Reporting and Strengthen Qualified Clinical Data Registries
Deadline – Friday, September 28th
To sign the letter,
please use this link.
Endorsed by: American Academy of Dermatology Association, American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Emergency Physicians,
American College of Radiology, American Gastroenterological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Association
of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American College of Cardiology
We write to request your support for a bipartisan letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. In recent years, HHS has worked with stakeholders to reduce reporting burdens on physicians while ensuring the new physician
payment system, the Quality Payment Program (QPP), meets its goal of improving care across the health care delivery system.
Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs) serve as the electronic reporting tool for physicians participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS. QDCRs are designed by physicians to meet their specific needs and reporting requirements,
and approved by CMS. They make it easier for physicians to report measures, saving them time and paperwork. QCDRs have great potential to capture physician efforts to deliver quality care, and translate them into data-driven policy changes to improve outcomes.
Unfortunately, many QCDRs face barriers when interacting and exchanging information with providers’ electronic health records (EHR). Such hurdles can be costly, time consuming, and deter physicians from participating in QDCRs.
In the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress sought to prevent this very issue. The law prohibits EHR vendors from interfering with, preventing, or materially discouraging the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information, and grants the Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to investigate and impose penalties upon an EHR vendor that engages in such information blocking.
HHS is currently in the process of developing information blocking guidelines. The proposed rule is expected to be released by the end of this month.
Please join us in asking Secretary Azar to ensure barriers to the open flow of information are addressed in the forthcoming rule. Taxpayers have invested billions of dollars in health information technology, and their investment should support a health care
system that improves quality of care for all Americans.
Mike Kelly Mike Thompson
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Dear Secretary Azar:
We appreciate your continued efforts in working with Congress to achieve our shared goal that the Quality Payment Program (QPP) enhance the physician experience while improving patient care across the entire health care delivery
system. Though much has been done to ease reporting requirements for physicians who participate in Medicare’s quality improvement programs, there is still more to do to facilitate providers’ efforts to address the needs of a growing and diversifying patient
We believe Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QCDRs) have great potential to capture these efforts, and translate them into data-driven policy changes to improve outcomes. To that end, we would like to work with you to remove barriers that limit the utility
and usability of QCDRs for physicians participating in the QPP.
We appreciate the progress made with respect to this goal in the 2017 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance score adjustment that granted credit for participation in a QCDR. Rewarding physicians for participating in QCDRs supports Congress’
goal of simplifying reporting requirements while managing costs and improving care quality; QCDR participation is not only a way of measuring quality but also a means for improving clinical care.
However, improvements in the flow of secure patient information between QCDRs and providers’ electronic health records (EHR) is critical to the success and growth of the program. It has come to our attention that barriers exist within some EHR systems that
inhibit the transfer of patient information to the QCDR. For example, some EHR vendors require providers to pay a large fee to share their data with the registry. Additionally, some EHR vendors require the purchase of intermediary software systems owned by
the EHR in order to send information to the registry. We are concerned that these practices may limit access to and discourage utilization of QCDRs; the facility of data sharing must be a priority if QCDRs are to advance under QPP.
We encourage the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to take into consideration the impact of these practices as it develops rules to define information blocking as required by the passage of provisions in the 21st
Century Cures Act (Pub. L. 114-146). ONC policy should enable increased flows of electronic data between EHRs and QCDRs to unlock QCDRs’ potential to develop meaningful quality measures.
We are pleased that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has indicated further reduction in physician reporting will come through increased credit for the use of QCDRs. Many physicians received credit for reporting through a QCDR in 2017
– and the QCDR helped them avoid penalties, and be recognized as high performers due to reporting additional measures. We share the goal of encouraging participation in QCDR reporting and request that CMS continue to incentivize QCDRs through the MIPS program.
A closer alignment of QCDR reporting with MIPS credit could encourage EHR vendors to ease patient data sharing.
We look forward to working with you to simplify physician reporting while increasing the value of the data they report. In doing so, we can leverage the unprecedented innovations in health technology to create a health care system that improves quality of
care for all Americans. Thank you for your consideration.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0