Local Health Departments' Input on EHRs Sought

NACCHO, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, wants feedback on their "meaningful use" of electronic health records by tomorrow so it can submit comments to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Who is left to provide the feedback is another question.

NACCHO, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, has asked the local health departments it represents to provide feedback on their "meaningful use" of electronic health records by tomorrow so it can submit comments to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). CMS' EHR incentive program will provide payments to professionals and eligible hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid for meaningfully using EHRs, and some local health departments could be funded, according to NAACHO.

Who can provide the feedback is another question. NACCHO released results of a survey on March 1 that showed local health departments lost 16,000 jobs in 2009, while reports from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation indicated federal spending on public health has been flat for nearly five years as states cut nearly $392 million from public health programs. Combined with 7,000 jobs cut by local health departments in 2008, NACCHO estimates about 15 percent of the local public health workforce has disappeared in the past two years.

"While local health departments will do the best job they can with the resources available to them to protect Americans from public health threats, these data sound a warning," NACCHO Executive Director Robert M. Pestronk said. "The cumulative effects of budget cuts and job losses have taken a major toll on the ability of health officials to respond not only to large-scale emergencies and disease outbreaks like H1N1 influenza, but to the everyday situations for which the health department is the first line of defense."

The EHR information is needed because Congress specified three types of requirements for meaningful use:

1. Use of certified EHR technology in a meaningful manner (for example, electronic prescribing);
2. That the certified EHR technology is connected in a manner that provides for the electronic exchange of health information to improve the quality of care; and
3. That in using certified EHR technology, the provider submits to the HHS secretary information on clinical quality measures and such other measures selected by the secretary.

"Your [department] will be affected by all three elements in this program, even if you do not provide comprehensive primary care. For example, [eligible professionals] and hospitals will be required to develop the capability to electronically exchange (send and receive) data with public health," the association said. "NACCHO has prepared some comments to CMS but needs your help to advocate for the best outcome for your health department."

Product Showcase

  • Kestrel 5400 Heat Stress Tracker WBGT Monitoring for Workplace Safety

    Ensure safety with the Kestrel® 5400 Heat Stress Tracker, the go-to choice for safety professionals and endorsed by the Heat Safety & Performance Coalition. This robust, waterless WBGT meter is ideal for both indoor and outdoor environments, offering advanced monitoring and data logging essential for OSHA compliance. It features pre-programmed ACGIH guidelines and alert settings to quickly signal critical conditions. Integrated with the cloud-based Ambient Weather Network, the 5400 allows managers to view, track, and log job site conditions remotely, ensuring constant awareness of potential hazards. Its capability for real-time mobile alerts and remote data access promotes proactive safety management and workplace protection, solidifying its role as a crucial tool in industrial hygiene. Read More

  • Magid® D-ROC® GPD412 21G Ultra-Thin Polyurethane Palm Coated Work Gloves

    Magid’s 21G line is more than just a 21-gauge glove, it’s a revolutionary knitting technology paired with an advanced selection of innovative fibers to create the ultimate in lightweight cut protection. The latest offering in our 21G line provides ANSI A4 cut resistance with unparalleled dexterity and extreme comfort that no other 21-gauge glove on the market can offer! Read More

  • Glove Guard® Clip

    Safety should never be compromised, especially when it comes to proper glove usage. The Glove Guard® clip enhances safety by encouraging employees to keep their gloves with them at all times. This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries on the job. By ensuring everyone has their gloves readily available, we help promote a culture of safety and efficiency. The Glove Guard® clip is designed to withstand the toughest work environments. Constructed from robust materials made in the USA, it can endure extreme conditions, including harsh weather, and rigorous activities. Read More


Artificial Intelligence