Quarterly News from your WTxHITREC

In This Issue
CMS Modifying MU Requirements
The Role of Regional Extension Centers in Practice Transformation
Let Your Health IT Voice Be Heard!
Save the Date! 2015 Crossroads Conference - Telehealth Meets Practice Transformation
Two Birds, One Stone
Medicaid Physician Specialist Program
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Issue: 10
Enjoy your Quarterly News from your West Texas Health IT Regional Extension Center (WTxHITREC) and please feel free to forward this email to any of your colleagues or interested parties.

CMS intends to modify requirements for

Meaningful Use 

On January 29, 2015, CMS announced its intent to engage in rulemaking to update the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs beginning in 2015. These intended changes would help to reduce the reporting burden on providers, while supporting the long term goals of the program.


Click here for more information on the proposals.


For more information about the CMS EHR Incentive Program, contact WTxHITREC.


Submitted by:

Becky Jones, MSN, RN-BC, CPHQ, CHTS-PW

Regional Coordinator 

The Role of Regional Extension Centers in

Practice Transformation

Health Information Technology (health IT) is foundational to the pursuit of the triple aim of achieving better care, better health, and reducing costs. Despite the potential benefits of health IT, adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) had been slow. In 2008, only 8 percent of hospitals, and 13 percent of physicians practicing in ambulatory settings had adopted at least a basic EHR. Small practices and critical access hospitals (CAHs) historically have had lower rates of EHR adoption, raising concerns of a "digital divide" in access to health IT among rural and underserved populations. In order to bridge this gap, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 spurred the adoption of health IT by offering financial incentives and technical assistance for the adoption and meaningful use (MU) of EHRs as well as the exchange of health information. HITECH appropriated $2 billion to Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for health IT, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services delegated authority to ONC to establish the health IT Regional Extension Center (REC) program.


For complete article, click here.


Submitted by Bruce Carlos Edmunds, M.Ed., PMP, CHTS-IM, IS, PW

Director of Programmatic Activity & Development

Let Your Health IT Voice Be Heard!


The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) requests your assistance to help guide their office and their partners when planning HIT programs aimed to benefit the Texas health care community.


To do this, it is necessary to know what Texas physicians, health care providers, and hospitals think about the various HIT programs, as well as what is and is not working.  Input the following link to provide your feedback and Let Your Voice Be Heard!


The Texas HHSC has partnered with the F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) to conduct this feedback project. If you have any questions about the project please call a TTUHSC project representative at 806-743-7960. 

Save the Date! 2015 Rural Health at the Crossroads: Telehealth Meets Practice Transformation

With the success of the 2014 TexLa Telehealth Summit and the progress of telehealth in Texas and Louisiana, the second annual event looks to be widely attended and offers a robust group of sessions. If you or your organization may benefit from learning the current and future state of telehealth and how to plan for practice transformation, please plan ahead and look to attend this event taking place June 24th-26th at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on the River Walk in San Antonio, TX.

To learn more about this event, sponsorship opportunities, conference registration, or if you have questions or technical service needs in regards to telehealth, please contact the TexLa Telehealth Resource Center at 877-391-0487, texlatrc@ttuhsc.edu or visit www.texlatrc.org. 

Two Birds, One Stone

Engaging Patients and Meeting MU with Patient Portals


To meet Meaningful Use Stage 2, providers need more than 5% of their patients to access their patient portal and send a secure message. Many providers express concern over how to achieve this objective. The following are some benefits of patient portals and suggestions for increasing patient engagement.


For complete article, click here.


Submitted by Marissa Bartol and Courtney Wiese

WTxHITREC Interns from the University of Texas HIT Program

Now Enrolling! Medicaid Physician Specialist Program
The Medicaid Physician Specialist Program is federally funded through the Texas Health & Human Services Commission.  With this funding, all costs are covered for eligible physicians and NO FEES will be associated with this program.


Contact the WTxHITREC today at 806-743-7960 to determine your eligibility!

Do you have any items you would like to know more about or see in the next newsletter?

If so, please contact the WTxHITREC with any newsletter additions, questions or service needs at 806-743-7960 or info@wtxhitrec.org



Carson Scott, MPA

WTxHITREC, Director Marketing, Outreach, Education & Communications
Rural and Community Health - Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center