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CMS Outsourcing Creation of “Meaningful Use” Database to Northrop Grumman in a $34 Million Contract

Posted May 17 2010 7:20pm

You would think by now we would have infrastructure within the US government to develop something like this, but we don’t and it is just one more reminder of what the US government is going through right now to get caught up after 8 years of being on “snooze” control with an administration that saw little or no value image in technology. 

The government is going to pay and pay again to create and administer. 

This data base is going to keep track of all the payments made, qualifications statuses, watch for duplicate payments an so on and the good news is that unlike what Social Security is looking at with their COBOL system, it will scale to meet demands.  Northrop Grumman is the contractor and works with Companion Data Services, who also just happens to be a provider of healthcare insurance, just goes to show one more instance where they have their hands into everything. 

(Maybe they are bringing some algorithms for their part) (grin).  One other partner is a true tech partner Innov Tech which will do the programming.  

Hospitals and doctors will be identified as “meaningful use” users, and retain all payment and incentive information.  I realize that some government data functions have to be contracted and outsourced and the fact that this one can’t be fit in and the cost of the contract stymies me with a health insurance partner involved. 

One thing for sure in my talks and communications with doctors and other clinicians, there’s one heck of lot of confusion and the desire to proceed to stay in business without all of this.  Some have told me that if they can stay completely away from all the rhetoric as it is too much with all the reporting, they are certainly looking for a way out and others even said they are just about ready to close up shop as adding this on to dealing with health insurers along with more complicated processes and not being able to function like “human doctors” has just about got the best of them and they are tired.  (I am just repeating here what I have been told.) 

One MD commented that he thought everyone was doing a real good job of turning meaningful into a big basket of meaningless, and that was from a practice that has already converted to a medical records system and he could care less and will continue to improve and use technology as it improves and becomes available but all the rhetoric has overdone his level of comprehension and interest as it’s just too much.

Data systems and red tape don’t excite doctors, curing and treating ailments as well as saving lives does.  BD 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a $34 million contract to develop a mega-database to process incentive payments for providers participating in the national health IT adoption plan.

Northrop Grumman will develop the “national level repository,” which will support the disbursement and accountability of incentive payments. Under the HITECH Act, providers who are meaningful users of electronic health records can qualify for increased Medicare and Medicaid payments.

The database is designed to avoid duplication of payments by collecting information about whether physicians and hospitals are participating under the Medicare or Medicaid programs.

"As the United States undergoes a significant transformation of its healthcare system, the national level repository will meet a critical need by processing millions of transactions to provide correct and accurate payments to our countless professionals, institutions and state agencies that are serving the medical needs of our citizens," she said.

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