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Affordable Care Act: Technology Provisions

by Published On: May 02, 2012

The following are the technology-related provisions included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), which was signed into law on March 23, 2010. 

Certified EHR grant program for long-term care 

The Affordable Care Act contains a 4-year certified EHR grant program for long-term care facilities beginning in FY 2011. The grants are to be used to offset costs related to purchasing, leasing, developing, and implementing certified EHR technology and may be used for any computer infrastructure including hardware and software, upgrading current systems, and staff training. 

Long-term care facilities that receive grants are required to participate in state-level health information exchange activities where available. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary is required to adopt electronic standards for the exchange of clinical data by long-term care facilities, including, where available, standards for messaging and nomenclature. 

The law made $67.5 million available to fund the EHR grants and 2 other long-term care grant programs to provide incentives for staff training and development and to improve management practices.

Demonstration project for use of HIT in nursing homes  

The Affordable Care Act requires the HHS secretary to conduct a demonstration project to develop best practices in skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities on the use of information technology to improve resident care. 

One or more competitive grants are to be implemented by March 2011 for not more than 3 years. The Affordable Care Act authorizes an unspecified amount of funding needed to conduct the demonstrations. 

Development of Medicare Part D prescription dispensing techniques in long-term care facilities 

The Affordable Care Act requires the HHS secretary, in consultation with stakeholders (including representatives of nursing facilities), to develop specifications for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDP) to reduce pharmacy waste in long-term care facilities using uniform techniques that will be determined in the analysis process.

New models of care utilizing technology  

  1. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act  - A primary LeadingAge priority in the health care reform bill, the CLASS Act will enable a new model of funding for long-term services and supports, including the use of aging services technologies to meet care needs.

  2. Use of Technology in New Cost Efficient Payment Models – Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation - The Affordable Care Act establishes the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). One of the new center‘s programs will be to develop new funding mechanisms with costs savings by better coordinating and managing care through newly established accountable care organizations (ACO). One of the methodologies available to ACOs will be "the use of telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and other such enabling technologies."

  3. Use of HIT in Health Homes for Enrollees with Chronic Conditions - The Affordable Care Act authorizes states to develop a new method of providing home care for enrollees with chronic conditions. Through the use of teams of health care providers this option allows states to provide a "health home" model for such individuals. It requires participating states to include in their state plan amendment a proposal for use of health information technology in providing health home services and improving service delivery and coordination  cross the care continuum (including the use of wireless patient technology to improve coordination and management of care and patient adherence to recommendations made by their provider).

  4. Use of Technology in New State Options for Long-Term Services and Supports - The Affordable Care Act provides states with new state plan options for providing long-term services and supports, including a "community first choice option" for home and community-based attendant care services. Under this option, states could utilize technologies to ensure continuity of services and supports. The exact types of technologies permissible will need to be clarified, as the language prohibits reimbursement for "assistive technology devices and services" but allows "beepers and other electronic devices" as well as expenditures that "substitute for human assistance."

For complete information, you can download Provisions Relevant to Aging Services Technologies


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