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HealtheNews: February 2016 Issue


        In This Issue:

  • HealtheConnections Hosts Local IMPACT Kick-Off Meeting
  • The End of Meaningful Use? Not So Fast!
  • CMS New Hardship Exception Process Now Available
  • New HIE Audit Report Process
  • Participant Spotlight: How Onondaga Case Management Services Utilizes HealtheConnections' Services
  • January HIE Statistics

HealtheConnections Hosts Local IMPACT Kick-Off Meeting

On January 28, HealtheConnections brought together representatives of partner organizations from Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego counties to launch Local Initiatives for Multi-Sector Public Health Action (Local IMPACT).

Partner organizations in this effort include:
  • Cayuga Community Health Network (Cayuga County)
  • Seven Valleys Health Coalition (Cortland County)
  • Herkimer County HealthNet (Herkimer County)
  • Central New York Health Home Network (Oneida County)
  • Onondaga County Health Department (Onondaga County)
  • Oswego County Opportunities (Oswego County)
HealtheConnections is receiving $2.05 million in grant funding from the New York State Department of Health over three years to implement this initiative, with funding originating from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The funding supports the prevention of obesity, and the prevention and control of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke in the region. 

Local IMPACT strategies are designed to target high-need geographic areas by incorporating improvements to each of four focus areas at once: Environmental Approaches, Lifestyle Change Program Participation, Health System Changes, and Community-Clinical Linkages. 

Moving forward, HealtheConnections and county partners will:
  • Improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy food through collaboration with local institutions and food retailers
  • Increase opportunities for physical activity in communities by changes policies and making improvements to the physical environment
  • Build capacity for and implement the National Diabetes Prevention Program 
  • Support health systems changes and clinical-community linkage strategies
To learn more about the Local IMPACT initiative, or HealtheConnections' Population Health Improvement efforts, contact Bruce Hathaway, Senior Population Health Analyst, at 

The End of Meaningful Use? Not So Fast!

The acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Andy Slavitt announced recently that meaningful use would end. Physicians and hospitals should keep some important things in mind as staged meaningful use is phased out and a new program takes shape.

The passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, or MACRA, holds quality, cost and clinical practice improvements as key factors in determining how Medicare physician payments are made. Yet, existing law requires that we continue to measure meaningful use under the existing set of standards. While MACRA provides an opportunity to adjust payment incentives associated with EHR incentives, it does not eliminate it. Meaningful Use changes won't happen overnight!

Additionally, MACRA only addresses Medicare physician and clinician payment adjustments, and do not necessarily apply to providers in the Medicaid program at this time. Hospitals have a different set of requirements and CMS will align principles with both hospitals and the state Medicaid programs as much as possible.

Details for the proposed rules, along with a public comment period, will be released this spring according to CMS administrators. The HealtheConnections team will watch for the MACRA regulations later this year; in the meantime, our existing regulations - including Meaningful Use Stage 3 - are still in effect.

Please call Tamie Kiniry at 315-671-2241 x350 if you need assistance with details or have other Meaningful Use questions.

CMS New Hardship Exception Process Now Available

CMS has posted new, streamlined hardship applications, reducing the amount of information that eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals must submit to apply for an exception. This application established that the Secretary may consider hardship exceptions for "categories" of EPs and eligible hospitals that were identified on CMS' website as of December 15, 2015 (Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act (PAMPA), Pub. L. No. 114-115). Prior to this law, CMS was required to review all applications on a "case-by-case" basis. Providers who experienced an issue with their CEHRT related to the rule timing and any other provider for whom the timing of the rule caused a significant hardship should select sub-category 2.2d on the 2017 hardship exception application.

The new applications and instructions for a hardship exception from the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program 2017 payment adjustment are now available on CMS' website. Most importantly, EPs that wish to use the streamlined application must submit their application by 11:59 PM ET on March 15, 2016 and eligible hospitals must submit by April 1, 2016. 

New HIE Audit Report Process

HealtheConnections is implementing a new, more efficient audit process for all participants. The audit report package will be available online through myConnections for viewing by your organization's designated audit report recipient. A detailed set of instructions will be distributed to all audit report recipients and RHIO Administrators this month.

For more information, contact HealtheConnections Support: 
315-671-2241 x5 or 

Participant Spotlight: How Onondaga Case Management Services Utilizes HealtheConnections' Services


One of the lead health homes in Central New York, Onondaga Case Management Services (OCMS), views HealtheConnections' health information exchange (HIE) services as an integral part of their day-to-day business.

Executive Director Scott Ebner says OCMS plays a unique role in the coordination of care management, which encompasses an individual's physical health, mental health, and substance abuse needs. OCMS receives client referrals from healthcare providers, social workers, and even friends and family of individuals who are in need of their services. Clients must have Medicaid and two or more chronic conditions, or HIV/AIDS, or one serious mental illness. Once a client enrolls with OCMS, their care manager devlops a care plan to address the client's needs, with a goal of improving the client's health and well-being. OCMS strives to achieve an improvement in their clients' quality of health and life while reducing healthcare costs.

Accessing myConnections, a secure portal through which healthcare providers can access the health information exchange (HIE) and other services offered by HealtheConnections, has become part of OCMS' daily workflow.

Patient Lookup, one of the services provided by HealtheConnections that offers a real-time consolidated view of a patient's community-wide health records, enables authorized users from OCMS to easily gather health information about their client, as long as the patient has given their consent.

If a patient is admitted to the Emergency Room or an in-patient facility, or if they are discharged from an in-patient facility, HealtheConnections will notify the healthcare provider or case manager of this occurrence through a service called myAlerts. Ebner says, "When we receive a notification from myAlerts, it is a really important indicator that we need to focus on planning to reduce [the client's] readmission." Receiving an alert prompts the care manager to access Patient Lookup for more information about the incident. After reviewing the client's recent records, the care manager develops a better integrated care plan, more attuned to the client's current needs.

HealtheConnections significantly enhances OCMS' ability to monitor and quickly respond and support people in effectively managing their health.

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HIE Adoption

Welcome New Participants

Access CNY Enable - Clinical Support Services

Aesthetic Plastic Surgery of Syracuse PLLC

ADHD & Autism Psychological & Advocacy Services

Susama Verma,MD PLLC

Total Health Pharmacists PLLC

George A. Kozminski, MD

Adrienne D. Allen, MD

Mary L. Oot, FNP, PC

Ryan A. Keddy, DC, PC

NP Adult Healthcare, PLLC

CNY Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery LLC

Bolton's Pharmacy Inc.

Lawrence Cecchi, MD, PC

HIE Statistics

566 Participating Organizations
  • Hospitals: 22
  • Practices: 292
  • Other Healthcare Entities: 236
  • Labs: 25 (includes 19 hospital laboratories)
  • Radiology: 28 (includes 18 hospital radiology centers)
January Statistics

Patient Lookup
  • Users Accessing HIE: 1,065
  • Log-ins: 12,404
  • Documents Viewed: 28,867
Results Delivery
  • Providers: 947
  • Documents Delivered: 71,470

Connected EHRs for Results Delivery

GE Centricity

Continuity of Care Document (CCD) Exchange

  • Practices sending CCDs: 73
  • Total CCDs received monthly: 159,125
Connected EHRs for CCD exchange:

GE Centricity
Greenway Intergy
Peer Place

EHRs in Process of Integration for CCD exchange:


(Under "Healthcare Providers")

Tel: (315) 671-2241
Support: (315) 671-2241 x5
Fax: (315) 407-0053

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