NeHC To Host Repeats Of Webinar On New Meaningful Use Stage 2 Rule, Certification Criteria

Health care providers and professionals unable to attend Friday’s NeHC webinar about the final rules for Meaningful Use Stage 2 and the Standards and Certification Criteria will have a second opportunity to do so this week.

The webinar will be repeated twice next week. Repeat programs have been scheduled for 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 28, and 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 30.

The free webinar features Rob Anthony of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Office of E-Health Standards, who will provide an overview of the final rules for Stage 2 Meaningful Use and answer attendee questions.

Steve Posnack, Director of the Federal Policy Division at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), will discuss the 2014 Edition Standards and Certification Criteria final rule. He will review the revised definition for Certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) Technology, identify changes from the proposed rule and give his insight into the next steps.

Registration is required. To register, visit To review a detailed fact sheet on the final rules, visit

Quality Forum Announces New Officers, Board Members

The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum has named new officers and five new board members to its Board of Directors for 2012-2013.

The new officers are: Ray Peters, President (Vice President of Human Resources and Marketing for RoyOMartin Lumber Company in Alexandria, La.); B. Vindell Washington, MD, MHCM, FACEP, President-Elect (Vice President of Performance Excellence and Technology at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in Baton Rouge, La.);  Dionne Viator, CPA, FACHE, Secretary/Treasurer (Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer for Baton Rouge General Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La.); and Lynn Buggage, Member at Large (State Health Systems Director of the American Cancer Society in New Orleans).

In addition, five individuals have joined the Quality Forum board:Catherine Fairchild, JD (Attorney with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development in Baton Rouge, La.); John E. Carroll, CFM, ARPC, CRPC, CSNA, AAMS (Vice President with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in Alexandria, La.); Sandra A. Kemmerly, MD, MACP, FIDSA (Medical Director for Quality and Safety at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans); Louis R. Minsky, MD (Private Practitioner with Minsky & Carver Medical Center for Personal Wellness in Baton Rouge, La.); andLeonard Weather, Jr., MD (Gynecologist in Shreveport, La.).

Ray Peters

Dr. Vindell Washington

Dionne Viator

Lynn Buggage

Catherine Fairchild

John Carroll

Dr. Sandra Kemmerly

Dr. Louis Minsky

Dr. Leonard Weather

For more information, please visit

LaPOST Endorsed By National POLST Paradigm Task Force

In July, the National Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Paradigm Task Force (NPPTF) voted to endorse the Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) program. 

Designed to improve the quality of end-of-life care, LaPOST is based on effective communication of the wishes of patients with life-limiting illnesses, a promise by health care professionals to honor these wishes and documentation of the corresponding medical orders on a brightly colored form.  

The recent endorsement recognizes the efforts of Louisiana’s LaPOST Coalition members, who have worked diligently to establish the LaPOST Program and the enabling legislation. The endorsement also grants Louisiana a seat on the National POLST Paradigm Task Force and subcommittees.  

“We welcome Louisiana as our 15th endorsed state. They have worked very hard to get to this point and we look forward to working with them,” says Judy Citko, Chair of the NPPTF. 

Dr. Susan Nelson, Chair of the LaPOST Coalition, called the endorsement exciting news, and says, “Our coalition continues to work to increase awareness and use of the LaPOST document across the state. We want the medical community to know that there is a document which will ensure patients’ wishes and goals of care are honored. The endorsement by the National Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Paradigm Program shows that we are making significant strides in achieving that goal.” 

Additional information about LaPOST can be found at More information about the national program can be found at

GAO Report: Providers More Likely To Receive Medicare EHR Incentive Payments If They Partner With A Regional Extension Center

In July, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report, “Electronic Health Records: Number and Characteristics of Providers Awarded Medicare Incentive Payments for 2011.” The report found that providers who partner with Regional Extension Centers (RECs) are twice as likely to receive Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentive payments as those who don’t. 

In 2011, more than 56,000 providers nationwide received $967 million in Medicare EHR incentive payments. The largest proportion of those providers (32 percent) was located in the Southern states, and a significant majority (89 percent) was in urban areas. Half (50 percent) were specialty practice physicians, and more than one-third (38 percent) were general practice physicians. 

The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum is the state’s designated entity for the administration of the Louisiana Health Information Technology (LHIT) Resource Center, which serves as the state’s Regional Extension Center. 

The LHIT Resource Center is currently assisting more than 1,200 physicians and nearly 30 critical access and rural hospitals in the adoption and implementation of EHRs to achieve Meaningful Use (MU). To date, the Resource Center has assisted providers in applying for and receiving approximately $26 million in Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments. 

“I’m pleased to see the GAO confirm what providers across Louisiana have already told us – that working with the LHIT Resource Center makes them more successful in achieving meaningful use and makes meaningful use easier to accomplish,” says Nadine Robin, Health Information Technology Program Manager for the Quality Forum.  “We work side-by-side with providers to help them complete the requirements for receiving incentive payments.  Our experience navigating the incentive requirements and assisting with EHR adoption with more than 1,400 providers gives our providers a huge advantage.” 

Total potential EHR incentive amounts begin to reduce for Medicare providers who do not attest for meaningful use by the end of 2012. Health care professionals and hospitals in Louisiana are encouraged to take advantage of the guidance, on-the-ground assistance and information available through the LHIT Resource Center.  

For more information about LHIT Resource Center and its services, visit, email, or call 225.334.9299.

Quality Forum To Celebrate National Health IT Week: September 10-14, 2012

Initiated in 2006 by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), National Health IT Week, scheduled for September 10-14, 2012, is the premier event offering all health care stakeholders an opportunity to unite under one banner driving the message on the benefits that health information technology (HIT) can bring to U.S. health care.  This year’s theme is One Voice, One Vision: Transforming Health and Care.

The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum is partnering with approximately 200 provider organizations, payers, vendors, pharmaceutical/biotech companies, government agencies, industry/professional associations, research foundations and consumer protection groups to elevate national attention to the advantages of advancing health IT during National Health IT Week.  

The Louisiana Health Information Technology (LHIT) Resource Center, administered by the Quality Forum, is committed to improving health care quality and health outcomes in Louisiana through the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs). LHIT Resource Center services include EHR vendor selection, project management, practice and workflow redesign and meaningful use achievement. Currently, the LHIT Resource Center is assisting more than 1,400 physicians and nearly 30 critical access and rural hospitals across the state in the transition from paper-based medical records to EHRs. 

“Our participation in National Health IT Week highlights our organization’s commitment to ensuring that health information technology is integrated, interactive and interoperable to provide the best patient outcomes,” said Brenda Ikerd, Director of Health Information Technology for the Quality Forum. “By working together, we can leverage the technology for the betterment of our health care system.” The full list of NHIT Week partners can be found at If you’d like to know more about scheduled NHIT Week events, visit

LaPOST Plans Go-Live Event For Greater Baton Rouge Area In November

The Louisiana Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (LaPOST) is now available as a physician resource when helping patients plan and document their end-of-life treatment preferences and goals of care.  

The LaPOST document specifies patients’ wishes in the event they are unable to communicate. A quality initiative for the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, LaPOST is a physician order and is recommended only for patients with a life-limiting illness or irreversible condition.

LaPOST was created as a best-practice model for advance-care planning through the efforts of the LaPOST Coalition, a statewide network of health care professionals. Over the past year, the Coalition has worked to educate health care professionals across the state about the document and its uses. The LaPOST website,, provides several resources that can assist physicians and other health care professionals in developing and implementing policies to utilize the document.

Over the next 90 days, the Quality Forum will focus on providing education, training and awareness to health care professionals and workers in the Great Baton Rouge area through electronic education, webinars and on-site training. A “LaPOST Go Live” event is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2012, at the Hilton Capital House to celebrate the Greater Baton Rouge Area being LaPOST ready.

In the coming weeks, health care professionals in the target area will receive weekly emails and detailed information about LaPOST webinars, many of which will be certified for CME and CEU credits. Health care professionals are asked to provide the name of the individual who coordinates the educational efforts of their facilities to 

If you have any questions or would like to request more information about LaPOST, please call the Quality Forum at (225) 334-9299.

Louisiana Improves Rank In Kids Count Index

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s new KIDS COUNT Data Book ranked Louisiana 47th among the 50 states in overall child well-being, and noted that the state has improved on 11 of 16 child well-being measures. 

The newly revised 2012 Data Book provides an overall ranking for each state, and also ranks states on Economic Well-Being, Education, Health and Family and Community. The previous 10 data books ranked Louisiana as 49th, but thanks to the state’s strong performance on indicators such as uninsured children and children who are not enrolled in pre-school, that ranking has improved. 

The KIDS COUNT Data Book with state-by-state rankings and supplemental data is now available for review at For detailed data specific to Louisiana, visit the Agenda for Children website at

October 3: Last Day For EPs To Begin Their 90-Day Reporting Period For 2012

In order to attest to meeting Meaningful Use (MU) and to be eligible to receive a Medicare EHR Incentive payment, eligible professionals (EPs) should remember that Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, is the last day to begin their consecutive 90-day reporting period for Calendar Year (CY) 2012 for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.  

EPs who have completed their reporting periods may find several tools available through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help prepare for attestation, including the CMS Eligible Professional Attestation Worksheet, the Meaningful Use Attestation Calculator and the Attestation User Guide for Eligible Professionals.

Other important upcoming dates in the CMS calendar include:
  • Sept. 30, 2012: Last day of the fiscal year; Reporting year ends for eligible hospitals and CAHs.
  • Nov. 30, 2012: Last day for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to register and attest to receive an Incentive Payment for Fiscal Year 20120 under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.
  • Dec. 31, 2012: Reporting year ends for eligible professionals.
  • Feb. 28, 2013: Last day for eligible professionals to register and attest to receive an Incentive Payment for Calendar Year 2012.  
To find out more about the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and to access CMS attestation tools, visit


Crescent City Beacon Community Tackles Diabetes By Text

A collaborated effort by the American Diabetes Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Beacon Community Program, Text4health offers a customized text program that provides enrollees assistance in lifestyle management with daily healthy reminders, tips and fitness goals. 

Louisiana has the highest per capita rate of diabetes in the nation, and in New Orleans, roughly 60 percent of the population is at risk for Type 2 diabetes. The Crescent City Beacon Community is using the Text4health program to target those individuals with daily reminders on how to make healthy lifestyle choices. 

Participants receive text messages each week with information relevant to helping them to improve and manage their health and to connect with the best possible resources for their needs. Those resources may include contact information for local health care providers, links to websites about healthy eating and diabetes prevention or local health screening events. 

Read more about the Crescent City Beacon Community’s Text4health program at

CMS Begins Meaningful Use Audits

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that Figliozzi & Company of Garden City, N.J., will perform the audits of providers who have attested to Meaningful Use (MU) of an Electronic Health Record (EHR). 

According to the CMS, the audits will be conducted on eligible professionals who have attested to MU for Medicare and Medicaid Advantage (MA), and eligible hospitals that have attested to MU for Medicare only or are Dual Eligible (including MA hospitals). 

Those being audited will receive a letter from Figliozzi & Company with the CMS logo included on the letterhead. 

MU audit questions can be directed to Peter Figliozzi at (516) 745-6400 ext. 302 or via email at 

For more information about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, visit

Million Hearts, ONC Announce Consumer App Challenge

Million Hearts and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) are sponsoring a challenge that asks developers to create a new consumer app that informs consumers of their general heart risks and promotes healthy heart care. 

The winning app will provide consumers with a quick health risk assessment, motivate them to obtain a more accurate risk assessment by entering their blood pressure and cholesterol values, and direct them to nearby community pharmacies that offer affordable blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. 

The purpose of the challenge is three-fold, and developers should keep in mind that the app should encourage further testing, lifestyle changes and visits to health professionals for those who are at high risk. 

The winning app(s) may be heavily promoted by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Million Hearts Initiative and their partners. Up to five finalists will receive $5,000, with the grand prize winner receiving $100,000. 

Submissions are due by October 31, 2012. Finalists will be announced in November. 

For more information about the challenge, visit

Do You Use Technology To Manage Your Meds?

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has announced the ‘Managing Your Meds Video Challenge,’ which invites individuals to submit short, inspiring videos sharing how they use technology to manage their medications effectively. 

Consumers and patients may participate by creating a video demonstrating how technology can be an effective tool in managing medications. Examples might include the use of electronic tools such as mobile apps or provider portals. 

Health care providers may also compete in the challenge by showing how they use health information technology (IT) such as e-prescribing, secure messaging and electronic health records (EHRs). 

Participants don’t need specialized equipment – a standard video recorder or a phone with a video function will work.  

The first place winner will receive $3,000; second place will be awarded $2,000; and the third place winner will get $1,000. Prizes of $500 will also be awarded for honorable mention and popular choice winners. 

The deadline to enter is Oct. 3, 2012. For more information about this challenge and details on how to enter, visit

Quality Forum Health IT Director Named to HealthTech Council

Brenda Ikerd, Director of Health Information Technology/Health Information Exchange for the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, has been named to the HealthTech Council. 

HealthTech’s mission is to provide executive level collaboration and information sharing on the most important IT issues facing health care organizations. A sister organization to the Government Technology Research Alliance (GTRA), HealthTech utilizes a research-based approach to stay at the forefront of mandates, requirements, technologies and business needs that are most important to the health IT community. At its core is the HealthTech Council, an elite group of health IT leaders from health care provider groups, industry, academia and government who believe in the importance of health information technology. 

In joining the HealthTech Council, Ikerd says, “I am pleased to be a part of this well-respected council, which presents an excellent opportunity to collaborate with federal agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on issues of importance to health information technology.” 

As Director of Health Information Technology for the Quality Forum, Ikerd is responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing health information technology and exchange initiatives statewide. She works collaboratively with multiple stakeholders to facilitate and expand electronic movement and use of health information among organizations within state and federal technology requirements. 

With more than 30 years of health care experience, Ikerd has gained a unique perspective on the information management challenges encompassing the total health care process. Prior to joining the Quality Forum, she served as Senior Vice President of Health Information Management Business Services with PHNS for nine years. She is a Registered Health Information Administrator with the American Health Management Association and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

LaHIE Client Executive To Chair Telehealth Reimbursement/Financial Opportunities Workgroup

Lonnie DuFour, Louisiana Health Information Exchange (LaHIE) Client Executive, has been named chair of the Telehealth Reimbursement/Financial Opportunities Workgroup, which was established during the 2012 Regular Legislative Session with House Concurrent Resolution 96. 

The resolution asked the Quality Forum to join with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) and other entities and organizations across the state in conducting a study on ways to expand access to telehealth services for state residents, with all findings to be reported to the legislative committees on health and welfare. ‘Telehealth’ refers to any telecommunications technology specifically applied to advance health care. This study is currently underway. 

DuFour notes, “Telehealth represents an opportunity to expand access to health care in rural and medically underserved areas in Louisiana. Through this technology, local patients can be seen by the best clinical providers and specialists in the state without leaving their own communities.” 

“As chair of the Telehealth Reimbursement/Financial Opportunities Workgroup, I look forward to working with DHH and others to learn more about how we can make telehealth services available throughout the state,” he adds. 

DuFour, a retired naval veteran with 21 years of service to his country, was the Chief Operating Officer at Bunkie General Hospital prior to joining the Quality Forum. While at Bunkie General, he led the hospital’s system-wide upgrade of an aging and limited computer system to a comprehensive and advanced Health Information Management System. This accomplishment enabled Bunkie General Hospital to meet both Medicare and Medicaid “Meaningful Use” Stage One criteria and positioned its two rural health clinics to meet “Meaningful Use” criteria.

e-News aims to bring you a monthly summary of news about the Forum, its initiatives and related topics as we work together to shape health care in Louisiana. Your comments regarding current stories as well as ideas for future content are appreciated. Please address your feedback to Linda Morgan at

Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum
8550 United Plaza Blvd., Suite 500 | Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70809
Ph. 225-334-9299 | Fax 225-334-9847