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Ramping Up for MU Rules, CMS Launches New Site

by John Moore | June 21, 2010

Today, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new site that is basically an everything you wanted to know about meaningful use, ARRA, the HITECH Act, certified EHRs, etc., but were afraid to ask.  This is a reasonable attempt by CMS to get as much information online, in one location, that addresses most of the nuances of the HITECH Act and its incentive programs for physician and hospital adoption of EHRs.  Unfortunately, like most government websites, or at least those that seem to emanate from HHS, it is a drab site that presents information in a way that your mid-90’s era web designer would be proud of.  (Note: inside sources state the problem rests with a chief web design honcho at HHS who is stuck on that old model much to the displeasure of others – oh well, that’s government.)

Needless to say, the site does provide a wealth of information, though you may have to dig to find what is most important to you.  The site may also become prone to being dated, so be careful and double check other sources for more current info.  For example, the section on certification of EHRs stated that certification rules will be released in “late spring/early summer” – well they are already out, having been released on June 18th.  Hopefully, HHS, CMS and ONC can work more closely going forward to insure that information on this new, and what may become an important site, is truly current.

In launching this site, CMS is trying to get ahead of the curve and likely onslaught of requests for information once the final meaningful use rules are released. While this website states that these rules will be released, again, “in late spring/early summer,” we are now placing our bets that these rules will be released at 4:55pm on July 3rd, unless of course someone in the administration decides to postpone such an announcement until the opportune moment comes along to generate some positive press for what is currently an embattled administration.

4 responses to “Ramping Up for MU Rules, CMS Launches New Site”

  1. Heath says:

    I cringe at the thought of just how much time (and money) is spent creating something like that website. Beyond the outdated information, I’ve yet to find anything new or new levels of detail on the “new” site. Guess I’ll keep digging.

  2. I like to refer to federal government data and websites as “raw material” for publishers. As the quality of the data and packaging of the data from the feds get better, publishers (commercial or non-profit) have better raw materials to work with and can serve the role of creating user interfaces and added features.

    Frankly, I don’t want the federal agencies to try to keep up with the latest Web technologies. But, I do want the agencies to work on providing more and more data in formats that are accessible to direct users and value-added publishers. In this case, I’d rather see HHS/CMS work on keeping the information current than on creating an attractive website. Drab’s okay with me if the quality of the data is good.

    Eventually, newer technologies and better designs will seep into HHS sites. But I expect to see a gap in adoption of the latest and greatest technologies by federal agencies for the foreseeable future. To me, the gap represents an opportunity for enterprising publishers.

  3. Michelle W says:

    I noticed the lack of the new certification rule too (there’s no link today either). The site design isn’t completely terrible: the font is clear and legible, without any funky 90’s style flashing things (shudders). It’s just, as you said, drab. I’d imagine a redesign of the entire CMS web presence would be quite painful (I see tables galore in the code).

    I do appreciate them trying to get ahead of the game with an official web presence, and understand why it’s over at CMS’s corner of the HHS web space. But does anyone besides me think there might be some confusion for those who don’t keep up with every detail of HITECH, since nearly everything else related to the matter is over at the ONC website?

  4. Brian Ahier says:

    I’m happy this site is up, but there are going to be huge problems with keeping the information current within the rapidly changing landscape of HITECH. John is correct that fact checking this site will be important ~ and it will help if folks report inaccurate or outdated data. You can use this form to submit feedback on the site:


    As far as the final rule being published, it is fun to attempt to pin down the timing of the release, but really it is more a function of the rule making and publication process. My understanding is that the rule is now complete and submitted to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR). Now we are waiting for them to complete the filing process. In this case I think we will see the filing on a deferred publication schedule but filed early for an official preview. That being said, I’m sticking with this week, but would bet that it comes out no later than July 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm Eastern Time. 🙂

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