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Government outlines what electronic health records should look like over next 10 years

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology last week issued a policy paper, "A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure," which outlines the government’s pledge to support interoperable electronic health records to most Americans. 

America is three-quarters of the way there. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, 78% of office-based physicians used any type of electronic health record system, up from 18% in 2001. In 2013, 48% of office-based physicians reported having a system that met the criteria for a basic system, up from 11% in 2006. The percentage of physicians with basic systems by state ranged from 21% in New Jersey to 83% in North Dakota.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 authorized incentive payments to increase physician adoption of electronic health record systems, the CDC noted. The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are staged in three steps, with increasing requirements for participation. To receive an EHR incentive payment, physicians must show that they are "meaningfully using" certified EHRs by meeting certain objectives.

In 2013, 69% of office-based physicians reported that they intended to participate in "meaningful use" incentives. About 13% of all office-based physicians reported that they both intended to participate in meaningful use incentives and had EHR systems with the capabilities to support 14 of the Stage 2 Core Set objectives for meaningful use.

A Forbes breakdown of the new report noted that individuals, care providers, communities and researchers should have an array of interoperable health IT products and services that allow the health care system to continuously learn and advance the goal of improved health care by 2024. 

"This ‘learning health system’ should also enable lower healthcare costs, improved population health, truly empower consumers and drive innovation," the Forbes report explained. "For example, all individuals, their families and care providers should be able to send, receive, find and use health information in a manner that is appropriate, secure, timely and reliable."

"Within six years, the plan is for healthcare entities, including consumers, to apply IT to demonstrate better health outcomes to reduce healthcare costs," the Forbes report added. "That’s right in line with the expectations for Meaningful Use Stage 3, which likely will begin in 2017 and run until incentive money expires in 2021."

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Ulta Beauty names new board member

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — Ulta Beauty has announced that Vanessa Wittman, SVP and CFO of Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility, has been appointed to its board and as a member of its audit committee.

Wittman joins the Ulta Beauty board with more than 25 years of experience in finance and technology. At Motorola Mobility, she leads the teams overseeing all financial activities as well as the teams in charge of strategy, real estate, workplace services and information technology. Prior to joining Motorola Mobility in 2012, Wittman served for four years as EVP and CFO of Marsh & McLennan Cos., a professional services company. She previously held CFO roles at cable television company Adelphia Communications, telecommunications services provider 360networks and software developer at consulting group Metricom.

Wittman has been a director of Sirius XM Holdings since April 2011, and currently serves as a member of its audit committee. She previously served as a director of Infospace, an Internet search company.

 

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Bi-Lo to convert three Winn-Dixie locations to Harveys

BY Michael Johnsen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Bi-Lo Holdings, parent company of Bi-Lo, Harveys and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, on June 7 began to rebrand three Winn-Dixie stores as Harveys stores in Albany, Ga.

The stores will be closed through June 13, but to ensure prescription needs are met, the Winn-Dixie pharmacies will operate during normal business hours throughout the conversion. 

"Upon reopening as a Harveys, customers will be pleased to see the same smiling faces they have known for years as well as daily in-store savings programs from Harveys," said Jimmy Purvis, Harveys’ regional VP. "Plus, we will continue to offer traditional Winn-Dixie in-store savings programs, like the fuelperks! fuel reward program, which lets customers earn incredible gas savings every time they shop with their Harveys Hometown Rewards Key."

Similarly, the rebranded stores will continue to offer a prescription plan with more than 400 generic medications for $4 for a 30-day supply, $10 for a 90-day supply and several antibiotic medications at no cost. 

"As we marry the best offerings from Winn-Dixie with the best of Harveys, we believe our customers will be very happy with the outcome," Purvis said. 

In February, Bi-Lo Holdings received approval from the Federal Trade Commission to proceed with the transaction in which Bi-Lo Holdings will acquire substantially all of the stores in the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid’s supermarket chains from Delhaize.

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