Hospital reporting on public health measures drastically increasing

As CMS continues to provide incentives to hospitals to adopt certified health information technology and meaningfully report public health measures, the number of Medicare hospitals actually reporting on the measures in is increasing in a significant way. In Stage 1 of the electronic health records (EHR) incentive program, public health measures are optional measures of which eligible hospitals only need to report one of their choosing. Stage 2 mandates reporting of all public health measures. The goal of public health measure reporting is to enhance the ability to monitor population health and identify disease outbreaks while facilitating more effective case management. This program is part of the health care industry’s meaningful use movement, which uses certified EHRs to improve the quality of the information reported.


The three reportable measures were the ability to electronically submit reportable vaccinations to a local immunization registry; reporting syndromic surveillance data from urgent care or emergency departments to local public health agencies; and reporting laboratory results to local public health agencies. During Stage 1, only 5 percent of eligible hospitals reported all measures without exclusion. Stage 2 saw a significant jump to 72 percent. This allowed CMS a better look at the particulars of the ability to report data locally.


The measure that hospitals were most successfully able to report was the ability to report vaccinations. Seven of 10 Medicare eligible hospitals were electronically submitting this data to local registries. There was no geographic trend. All eligible hospitals in Vermont were reporting the data, while fewer than 10 percent of hospitals in North Carolina and New Hampshire would or could report. In Stage 2, 88 percent of eligible hospitals at least had the ability to report, while some claimed that the local jurisdiction could not accept the data.

Information regarding syndromic surveillance was not reported nearly as often. During Stage 2, slightly less than half of eligible hospitals were reporting this data. In five states, fewer than 10 percent of eligible hospitals reported. In Stage 2, 21 percent of hospitals said that the local jurisdiction did not accept data. The information was similar for laboratory results, as slightly less than half of the eligible hospitals submitted this data to a local public health agency. Massachusetts had the highest rate of submission at 86 percent, while no hospitals in Connecticut or the District of Columbia submitted laboratory data. By Stage 2, 15 percent of eligible hospitals said the local jurisdiction could not accept this data.