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CMS’ IT Systems

By December 29, 2010Commentary

Its hard to know whether to cheer or tremble with fear regarding the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services release of its report on modernizing its systems.  Unfortunately, the latter is probably more appropriate, given the history of government health IT projects.  The report was mandated by the reform act and CMS has titled it “Modernizing CMS Computer and Data Systems to Support Improvements in Care Delivery”.   (CMS Report) The new mantra at CMS is that they are purchasing outcomes and quality, not volumes of service or products and the conceptualization of the future system is designed to support that notion.

At the core of the plan is a new data environment and warehouse that will better allow access to a complete picture of the health care delivered to beneficiaries.  This will not only support care quality improvement initiatives but create more robust fraud and abuse capabilities.  CMS plans two “greenfield projects” as initial tests of the new system concept.  One of these will be in regard to Medicaid and CHIPs data and one for encounter data processing.  CMS plans to introduce new functionality every six months over the next few years until the transformation is complete.  Here is the scary quote:  “CMS’ approach will feature sound fiscal and project management.”  Sounds like every government project I know of.

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