MEDICARE PILOT PROGRAM WILL OFFER BENEFICIARIES CHOICES FOR MAINTAINING THEIR OWN PERSONAL HEALTH RECORDS
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced a pilot program to test options for beneficiaries with Original Medicare to maintain their health records electronically. Under this pilot in
Medicare’s administrative contractor, Noridian Administrative Services (NAS), released a solicitation to potential PHR vendors today. The program is scheduled to begin in January 2009 and is expected to offer Medicare beneficiaries in the two states a choice of several PHR options.
“This exciting pilot will be a major step forward for Medicare. We believe that it will provide information and tools that will empower consumers to manage their health,” said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. “Importantly, we intend for the pilot to provide beneficiaries with a choice of products that will make it possible for beneficiaries to meet their individual needs.”
PHRs are tools that can help consumers manage their health and health care services. A PHR is a record of health information that is under the control of the consumer or patient. Sometimes it only contains data entered by the individual or his or her provider, but it can also include information from a health plan – as is the case in this pilot, where Medicare provides health information from its claims data base. A PHR is different than an electronic health record (EHR), which is owned by and under the control of the physician.
Beneficiaries who select one of the participating PHR vendors can also add other personal health information if they choose. Depending on the specific product, they may be able to authorize links to other personal electronic information such as pharmacy data. PHRs can offer links to tools that help consumers manage their health such as wellness programs for tracking diet and exercise, medical devices, health education information, and applications to detect potential medication interactions.
Beneficiaries can elect to allow family members to have access to their PHR. They can also provide access to the PHR to their health care providers.
“At Medicare, we strive to find innovative ways to better serve our beneficiaries,” said CMS Acting Administrator
The PHR vendors will have until September 8, 2008 to submit their applications to participate in this pilot with CMS. If PHR vendors want more information about this pilot, they can visit http://www.NoridianMedicare.com/phr/ or they can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.