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AHIMA board chair dies

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announced this morning that board President and Chair Kathleen A. Frawley died Friday at the age of 63. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Here is the text of the AHIMA press release:

AHIMA Mourns Passing of Kathleen A. Frawley, AHIMA Board President/Chair

CHICAGO – July 1, 2013 – With profound sadness, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) announces the passing of Board President/Chair Kathleen A. Frawley, JD, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA on Friday, June 28.  Frawley, 63, also was a professor and chair of the health information technology program at DeVry University’s North Brunswick, N.J. campus.

“Kathleen had an inspiring and unwavering belief in the importance of health information management and how AHIMA members could lead the profession,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, CAE, FAHIMA. “She touched the lives of so many of her colleagues in HIM, AHIMA members and her students. She will be missed by the entire AHIMA family.”

Angela Kennedy, EdD, MEd, MBA, RHIA, CPHQ, will serve as Board President/Chair effective immediately. Kennedy became President/Chair Elect in January, which was the same time Frawley began her one-year term.

“On behalf of the board and everyone at AHIMA, our thoughts are with Kathleen’s family during this difficult time,” Kennedy said. “Kathleen’s theme during her presidency was ‘dream big and believe.’ It is incumbent upon all of us at AHIMA to continue to move forward with the work and initiatives to advance the profession and the quality of care for patients everywhere as Kathleen would have wanted.”

For more than three decades, Frawley played an integral role at AHIMA. From 1992 to 2000, Frawley was AHIMA’s vice president of legislative and public policy services. The following year, she was a recipient of the AHIMA Distinguished Member Award. In 2011, she was the recipient of the New Jersey Health Information Management Association Distinguished Member Award.

As an educator, Frawley spent a great deal of time focused on the future of HIM education and making sure her students made the most of their opportunities. In a Journal of AHIMA Q and A from October 2012, Frawley said, “(one) of my projects is identifying and assisting students who are at risk of failing or dropping out of school. I did a presentation (on this) at the Assembly on Education and Faculty Development a couple of years ago; I want to identify barriers that prevent students from being successful.”

Frawley was particularly proud to serve as President/Chair during AHIMA’s 85th anniversary year. She inherited a love of history from her late father, and during her speech at the 2012 AHIMA Convention and Exhibit, she outlined how she always made it a point when she was at the AHIMA office to look at the pictures showcasing AHIMA’s founders and past CEOs. In fact, it was her idea to turn this wall of pictures into a mini-museum to celebrate AHIMA’s history.

Frawley, who spoke on health information privacy issues to a number of national outlets including Good Morning America, earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of Mount Saint Vincent. She received a master’s degree in health services administration from Wager College and a juris doctorate from New York Law School.

AHIMA will establish a scholarship in Frawley’s name to honor her contribution to the association as a staff member, board member and president, and long-time AHIMA member.

July 1, 2013 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Sampling of opinions on meaningful use Stage 2

I’ve been an absentee blogger yet again the last few weeks. Here’s something to chew on while I get caught up, a sampling of all the statements I received regarding the Stage 2 final rules for meaningful use, in the order I received them. Most interesting are what the consumer groups had to say because CMS lowered the threshold for sharing records through a patient portal to a laughable 5 percent of patients, down from the proposed (and almost equally laughable) level of 10 percent. Patients need to speak up and demand access to their own records. Providers need to stop fighting the inevitable.

National Partnership for Women & Families

Leading Consumer Advocate Lauds Stage 2 Meaningful Use Final Rule for Promoting Better Communication Among Doctors, Fewer Medical Errors and Lower Health Costs

Statement of Christine Bechtel, Vice President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“The Stage 2 Final Rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this afternoon is a huge step forward.  It brings us closer to the days when fewer overwhelmed patients and their family caregivers struggle to keep track of tests, diagnoses and medications; beg their doctors to talk to one another; suffer avoidable medical errors; and pay for duplicative and unnecessary care.  The rule issued today offers the promise of better, more efficient care, improved safety and fewer hospital readmissions.

We are pleased that the new rule gives patients the ability to go online and view, download and transmit their health information from the Electronic Health Record (EHR) to secure places of their choosing.  A recent public opinion survey commissioned by the National Partnership for Women & Families found that this kind of feature helps consumers see great value in physicians’ use of EHRs, and helps them have more trust in electronic systems.  The fact that this is now a core requirement, and will apply to the hospital setting as well as to physicians, is key to finally recognizing the critical role patients play as partners in their own care. This is a huge advance that will allow patients to be more actively engaged in their care.  It helps realize the potential of health IT in ways the nation needs.

It is good that the new rule also recognizes the essential role that providers and their staff play in encouraging patients to use this online access.  It does that by holding physicians and hospitals accountable for ensuring that 5 percent of their patient population logs in once during the year.

In addition, enabling patients to download and transmit their health information electronically will help foster more of the kind of information sharing that is desperately needed to facilitate care coordination, improve safety and reduce costs.  Patients play a key role in information sharing, and this rule gives patients the tools they need to do just that.

The rule’s requirements that a summary of care document be sent from one provider to the next for at least one of every two transitions of care or referrals is a good step.  CMS is also requiring 10 percent of those transmissions to be electronic.  And providers will have to show they are capable of sending these documents to providers who have different EHRs.

Improving care coordination and patient engagement through these criteria (information sharing requirements and online access for patients) are cornerstones of building the foundation of interoperability that will support health system reform.  So many new models of care like Accountable Care Organizations and medical homes will crumble without this bedrock foundation.  This is a good day for consumers who urgently need a more efficient, safer, better coordinated health care system.”

Click the links below for:

  1. Interviews with physician leaders who have implemented patient portals (or online access for patients)
  2. A snapshot of the national HIT opinion survey results
  3. A full executive summary of the national HIT opinion survey results




American Health Information Management Association

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule:

AHIMA Provides Initial Comments on CMS Ruling


CHICAGO – Aug. 23, 2012 Today the final rule on the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU2) was announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This act focuses on incentive payments to eligible professionals, hospitals and critical access hospitals participating in this program that successfully demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology.

A full analysis of this complex ruling announced as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (ARRA-HITECH) will be forthcoming from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). AHIMA is the preeminent nonprofit association representing Health Information Management (HIM) professionals on the front lines for implementing the rule.

While AHIMA studies the complete text of the rule and its scope, the following points have been included:

  • Consistent with the proposed regulation, health information technology (HIT) measures will allow for patients to have the ability to view online, download, and transmit their health information within four business days of the information being available.
  • CMS continues to acknowledge and align Clinical Quality Measures with other reporting programs to reduce burden and duplication of efforts.
  • All HIT Menu Set measures have been transitioned to the Core Set of measures with the exception of electronic syndromic surveillance data and advance directives.

 “We are encouraged to see CMS’ continued push toward actively exchanging health information to improve coordination of care thus improving patient safety,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE.  “We are also pleased to learn of CMS’ continued commitment toward engaging patients and families in their healthcare through the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information.  We believe patients must be partners and work side-by-side with their providers to achieve the best possible healthcare outcomes.”

According to Thomas Gordon, the 2014 compliance date CMS provided will enable the industry – providers, hospitals and vendors – the appropriate time to plan and implement the necessary changes.

“As HIM professionals, we are a critical component to the reporting of clinical and HIT quality measures in achieving meaningful use,” said Allison Viola, MBA, RHIA, senior director of federal relations at AHIMA. “We are pleased to see that CMS has heard our calls for increased alignment of quality reporting programs and acknowledgement of making an effort to reduce the reporting burden and duplication of reporting.  We also stand ready to support patients and their ability to have online access to their health information to ensure its privacy, integrity, and timeliness for their continued care.”

Live webinars to discuss the rule’s provisions will be available free for AHIMA members and for $59 for non-members. Visit for the schedule and registration information.




Society for Participatory Medicine

Statement of Sarah Krug, president of the Society for Participatory Medicine:

“Although we’re disappointed this final rule does not give patients next-day access to their electronic medical record after they leave the hospital, we believe that on balance the Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements go a long ways towards patient empowerment and feature a number of important patient-centered innovations. Patients must be full partners in access to their health information so they can be full partners in their care. For that reason, the Society for Participatory Medicine intends to keep a sharp eye on how the new Meaningful Use rules are actually implemented.”


Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

HIMSS Statement on Release of Meaningful Use Stage 2 and Standards & Certification Criteria Final Rules

August 24, 2012 – (Washington, DC) – HIMSS appreciates the release of the Meaningful Use Stage 2 and Standards & Certification Criteria final rules by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Stage 2 regulations allow the healthcare community to continue the necessary steps to ensure health information technology will support the transformation of healthcare delivery in the United States.

In our initial review of the Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program–Stage 2 Final Rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, HIMSS has identified several significant policy decisions, including:

  • Setting the Meaningful Use Stage 2 start date as 2014, which will maximize the number of eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals (EHs), and critical access hospitals (CAHs) prepared to meet Stage 2 requirements
  • Allowing a 90-day reporting period in Year 1 of Stage 2, which is consistent with HIMSS’ recommendations on the proposed rule
  • Accepting 2013 as the attestation deadline for EPs, EHs, and CAHs to avoid a Medicare payment adjustment, and allowing for exceptions, including limited availability of information technology
  • Finalizing Clinical Quality Measure submission specifications for EPs, EHs, and CAHs

ONC’s efforts in the Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology, 2014 Edition  appear to streamline the administrative process of certifying EHR products.  We note that the Final Rule both adopts and concurs with a number of HIMSS recommendations. The HIMSS response to the proposed rule had requested several points of clarity and additional specification around certain criterion, and we commend the government’s thorough review and inclusion of additional information to clarify many topics.

We are assessing impacts of each Final Rule regarding Clinical Quality Measurement, reporting options, standards specifications, and alignment with other federal quality reporting and performance improvement programs.

We look forward to continuing to work with the federal government and our members to ensure that the EHR Incentive Program makes impactful improvements to the quality of healthcare delivery in the United States.

Stay tuned for in-depth analysis on HIMSS’ Meaningful Use OneSource; a webinar series in September; and a full slate of Meaningful Use education and exhibition activities at HIMSS13, including a new Meaningful Use Experience.


Statement from Susan Turney, MD, MS, president and CEO of MGMA-ACMPE

“MGMA is pleased that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) responded to our concerns regarding several of the proposed Stage 2 meaningful use requirements. Extending the start for stage 2 until 2014 was a necessary step to permit medical groups sufficient time to implement new software. Permitting group reporting will reduce administrative burden, as will lowering the thresholds for achieving certain measures such as mandatory online access and electronic exchange of summary of care documents. MGMA supports the rule’s expanded list of exclusions and believes it will allow physicians to achieve meaningful use with fewer hurdles.”


Health IT Now Coalition

Health IT Now Coalition Expresses Concern over Meaningful Use Stage 2 Final Rule
Stresses clinical exchange measures are insufficient

WASHINGTON – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued its final rule detailing criteria for Stage 2 of the federal electronic health-record system incentive program. The following should be attributed to Joel White, executive director of the Health IT Now Coalition<>:

“While we are encouraged that ONC and CMS have recognized that care coordination cannot be achieved exclusively through directed exchange, the rule still fails to adequately address the core issue of interoperability.  Providers, developers, and state health information exchanges have already adopted and implemented more mature and scalable standards that are functioning well in the market today.

“More could and should have been done to support the interoperability requirements necessary for advanced payment and delivery reforms to operate optimally.  The measures for clinical exchange laid out in the Stage 2 final rule will likely not be sufficient.”

Health IT Now is a coalition to promote the rapid deployment of heath information technology (health IT). Health IT will benefit patients and health care consumers while supporting health practitioners to make smart decisions about patient care and save money. For more information, visit<>.



College of Healthcare Information Management Executives

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) today issued a statement in response to final rules on Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Payments program, also known as Meaningful Use:

“CHIME applauds efforts made by officials at the Department of Health and Human Services in working diligently to prepare final rules on Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Payments program,” said CHIME President and CEO Richard A. Correll.

“We commend the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT for seeing the wisdom and practicality of heeding many of CHIME’s recommendations, filed during the spring public comment period. By allowing providers to demonstrate Meaningful Use through a 90-day EHR reporting period for 2014, government rule-makers have ensured greater levels of program success. And by including additional measures to the menu set, providers have a better chance of receiving funds for meeting Stage 2.

“However, we also recognize that these points are conciliatory and that many details may need further clarification. The final rule still puts providers at risk of not demonstrating meaningful use based on measures that are outside their control, such as requiring 5 percent of patients to view, download or transmit their health information during a 3-month period. Some areas of clarification include some of the exclusionary language as well as nuances around health information exchange provisions, clinical quality measures and accessing images through a certified EHR.

“CHIME will continue to delve into this sizable and weighty effort, including the technical specifications and certification criteria,” Correll added.


September 5, 2012 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Hyperbole doesn’t work in health IT

I’m still rather slammed with work, but I might as well take a few minutes to post on a Friday afternoon to call out someone else who’s pumping up the health IT hype beyond reasonable levels.

A publicist for UnitedHealth Group wanted me to attend yesterday and today’s New York eHealth Collaborative Digital Health Conference in New York City. Never mind the fact that I live in Chicago and the invite came in two days ago. To be fair, though, I was offered phone interviews. I declined based on the second paragraph in the e-mail:

This event is the first and only national summit dedicated specifically to advancing the role of health information technology (HIT). Hundreds of leading stakeholders and thought leaders from across the HIT space will gather under the same roof to discuss the latest technologies, achievements and challenges impacting the industry. HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park is the keynote speaker.

This is the first and only national summit dedicated specifically to advancing the role of health information technology, huh? Other than HIMSS, AHIMA, AMIA, AMDIS, CHIME, ANIA-CARING, iHT2, Health Connect Partners, HL7 and a few more, that is absolutely a true statement. Let’s not leave out the dearly departed TEPR, either.

I hope others didn’t fall for that ridiculous statement.

December 2, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

A vendor’s view on selling of data

As long as there have been EMRs, there have been vendors selling aggregated, de-identified data. And there have been people worried about privacy.

That issue came up last week AHIMA Legal EHR Summit right here in Chicago, during a session exploring issues related to data ownership and stewardship in the era of cloud computing. (I’ll have a more complete rundown of the session Monday in InformationWeek Healthcare.)

Near the start of the panel, Daniel Orenstein, senior VP and general counsel of Athenahealth tried to put any lingering questions to rest right away. “I think data monetization is kind of a red herring,” Nussbaum said of people who criticize vendors for selling sensitive patient information. According to Nussbaum, de-identified data no longer includes any protected health information as defined by HIPAA, and only has value in the aggregate.

What he didn’t mention—and what nobody on the panel or in the audience brought up— is the possibility that data that supposedly were de-identified could be re-identified to a reasonable degree of precision. I’ve heard this for years, but I don’t know if anyone’s actually re-identified patient data outside of academia. Is this a real threat, or is Nussbaum right about it being a red herring?

UPDATE, August 22, 4:25 pm CDT: Here’s the InformationWeek story I referenced.


August 21, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

So, now, doctors guessing with Google has become a joke

As I heard at AHIMA’s Legal EHR Summit earlier this week, clinical decision support isn’t a perfect science. (Check InformationWeek Healthcare for coverage on Thursday or Friday.) This is especially true when doctors rely too much on Google and don’t actually verify what they find on the Internet. This may sound hard to believe, but not everything posted online is true.

Now, the notion that doctors guess with Google has made its way onto the funny pages, specifically in the cartoon Sherman’s Lagoon. To wit:



Hopefully, your own doctor is more qualified than Hawthorne.

August 17, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

New ‘Fierce’ stories

For readers of FierceHealthcare, FierceEMR and FierceMobileHealthcare, there’s some good conference coverage up there right now. I submitted a story from last week’s Healthcare Facilities Symposium to FierceHealthcare and in today’s FierceMobileHealthcare, commented kind of tangentally on the Health 2.0 Conference going on now. Plus, publisher Wendy Johnson has submitted stories for FierceEMR from the annual AHIMA meeting down in Grapevine, Texas. The more someone else writes, the less I have to do!

October 6, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

CCHIT critic identified

(Updated, 4:50 p.m. CST) The lengthy criticism leveled at the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology just got a little lengthier, and we finally know the name of the critic.

A “Calvin Jablonski” just added a comment to my post about CCHIT from earlier in the week. This seems like the same person who posted under the name “CJ” on the Wall Street Journal Health Blog last week, a comment subsequently reprinted here and on the Health Care Renewal Blog—there might be others, too—that brought a response from CCHIT Marketing Director Sue Reber on all the same blogs.

I searched the name “Calvin Jablonski” and could only find his posts about CCHIT, not any information on his background or interest in this topic. I believe, based on my statistics monitor for this site, that the comment came from IP address 65.218.162.# (the # indicates a number that I’m not privy to), on the network of marketing firm Euro RSCG 4 Impact in Norcross, Ga.

Today, Jablonski hammered away at alleged links between CCHIT and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society:

Ms Reber why don’t you admit the defunct status of CCHIT?
Its been verified… Why don’t you admit CCHIT has concealed its defunct status?

Why do you deny which is obviously the truth and which as been verified? CCHIT is a defunct 501 c 3 tax exempt non-profit that has been dissolved for over a year.

Why don’t you admit CCHIT was spwaned by none other than Steve Lieber, CEO of, another 501 c organization that hasn’t paid a dime in taxes but has made over $100million dollars in profits?

Why don’ty you admit CCHIT and HIMSS has presented an advocacy positon of not asking for millions, but now, BILLION of dollars that will fall down the same tax-dodging rat hole if funded according Liebers’ plan?

Why don’t you admit the non profit scheme cooked up by is full of “artificial transactions” designed to operate as a business filter that allows both organizations to fly below the level of taxable income on IRS radar?

Why don’t you admit CCHIT has continued to take checks from vendors during the period it has effectively been dissolved?

Why don’t you admit there is a revolving door for staff members between CCHIT, HIMSS and the EHRA?


Jablonski’s anti-CCHIT campaign actually started before the WSJ comment. “Calvin Jablonski, 501(c)(6) expert” commented on the Chilmark Research blog about the economic stimulus legislation on Feb. 1. You’ll note that he has some company in his criticisms. From the same string of comments, “rockyostrand” says:

Caution, Achtung, Cuidado,

Non-profit trade associations like HIMSS are waiting in the wings and closets at beltway bandit locations all over Maryland, Virginia and D.C. with their hands and cash buckets out waiting for the ink to dry.

Get ready for that giant sucking sound to make the tax dodging 501 (C) 6 “C- Suite” a lot richer.

Don’t you think its time to get the CCHIT and HITSP people out of the mix? its clear at this point they are after the checkbook , the other stuff about HIT is just the game they are playing to get at it. The thing about CCHIT- its an outgrowth of HIMSS and started at 230 E. Ohio St in Chicago, literally a HIMSS subsidiary spinoff residing residing under the same roof. Try looking into the CEO of CCHIT. You will find he is the CMO of HIMSS- gee what small world… YEESSS , Mark Leavitt, possible relation to Mike Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
Rocky Ostrand

That’s awfully close to Jablonski’s original critique—and clearly wrong in claiming that CCHIT Chairman Mark Leavitt, M.D., Ph.D., still is CMO of HIMSS (he went on leave from that position when CCHIT started, but he’s since officially split from HIMSS) and that he might be related to former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. Mike Leavitt is a devout Mormon from Utah. Mark Leavitt is a Chicago native of Jewish descent.

On the most recent set of allegations, I believe CCHIT has never hid the fact that it was created by HIMSS, the National Alliance for Health Information Technology and the American Health Information Management Association. Whether Steve Lieber personally spawned CCHIT, I don’t know and don’t think is relevant.

The questions about the involuntary dissolution of CCHIT as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation under Illinois law are valid ones. The questions about possible conflicts of interest involving CCHIT and other organizations are valid ones. The charge of a “scheme” full of “artificial transactions” is a serious one, but I don’t see any evidence to support it.

One more thing I’ve discovered since the original post: CCHIT’s previous office before moving to 200 S. Wacker Dr. in Chicago was at 233 N. Michigan Ave., the same location as AHIMA, not the 230 E. Ohio St. building where HIMSS is based.

You can bet this is not the last we’ll hear on this subject. I can’t wait to see if CCHIT has another “town hall” at this year’s HIMSS conference. That ought to be fun.

February 18, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.