Kentucky REC News


Kentucky REC Telehealth Services

COVID-19 has forced the rapid adoption and expansion of telehealth across the country. The current waivers in effect have made telehealth implementation even easier than before. Understanding the rules for compliance among federal, state and medical licensure programs can be daunting. During a public health emergency, the rules are changing daily, and it’s hard to know what rules will stay and what will change. For a telehealth program to be part of an organization’s long-term strategy, there are steps that your organization should take to ensure sustainability.

Let the Kentucky Regional Extension Center help your organization with your telehealth needs. Whether you jumped into telehealth using FaceTime or Skype and need a HIPAA-compliant platform, or you haven’t taken the plunge just yet, our advisors can help you wherever you are in your journey. Let us customize a plan to meet your needs. Our trusted advisors can tailor a plan that fits your organization’s needs from education, to full service line implementation assistance.

Contact the experts at Kentucky REC for all your Telehealth questions. We’re here to help: 859-323-3090.




The Kentucky Health Information Exchange (KHIE) and the KY Regional Extension Center (KY REC) are proud to announce our 10 year anniversaries of providing excellent service to the Kentucky healthcare community.

Join us to celebrate a decade of HIT leadership as we provide a collaborative eHealth Summit virtual event. Your advisors are bringing you two days filled with helpful information to aid your healthcare practice!

On Dec 8 Kentucky REC expert advisors will share information on Telehealth, Quality Improvement, Medicaid Promoting Interoperability, Hospital Promoting Interoperability, Patient Centered Medical Home/Patient Centered Specialty Practice, the Quality Payment Program, HIPAA and More!
On Dec 9 KHIE will present on today’s hot topics for both state and national health information technology initiatives. These include the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ (CHFS) projects highlighting responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing initiatives for promoting interoperability and care coordination across the state, and other related subjects.

The annual eHealth Summit, hosted by KHIE, provides quality education on advances in health information technology, policy issues and ground-breaking initiatives nationally and across the Commonwealth.

Kentucky REC hosts annual conferences in regions across the state providing the newest information on federal and state regulatory and incentive programs, HIPAA, grant opportunities, as well as innovative ways to improve quality and sustainability.

Questions? Contact Kentucky REC or call 859-323-3090, and contact Ann O’Hara at KHIE here:


With 2020 drawing to a close, it’s time to develop your plans for submission to Year 4 of the Quality Payment Program. A great deal of hard work goes into a successful QPP submission. Much of your information gathering and documentation can actually be done now, or at least lined up for quick collection at the close of 2020.

Both Improvement Activities and Promoting Interoperability performance categories allow some flexibility in data reporting time frames. You can select 90-continuous days for reporting for either category throughout the calendar year. This flexibility allows you to work ahead of the submission deadlines by gathering reports or other required documentation for the associated measures.

While Quality and Cost have a full year reporting requirement, you can implement strategies now for a strong finish to the 2020 performance year. Keep in mind that Cost is based upon Medicare Part B claims submitted to CMS during the performance year, so there is no additional information to submit for attestation.

We’ll discuss how to put your practice in the best position for submission success. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage with your experts at Kentucky REC and have your QPP questions answered by our team of Quality Improvement Advisors!

Free Webinar – QPP Year 4: Attestation Prep
Thursday, November 19, 2020 12:30 PM ET


Contact the experts at Kentucky REC for all your QPP, MIPS, and APM questions. We’re here to help: 859-323-3090.



The goal of the NCPC Digital Health Tools Survey is to assess how adoption and use of DHTs affect underserved communities and health disparities in this region. While the survey focuses on Primary Care physicians, this is not restrictive and other specialties are invited to participate. It can be completed by residents, NP’s and PA’s as well.

The National Center for Primary Care (NCPC), Morehouse School of Medicine, and Alliant Health Solutions are working together to examine the adoption and use of Digital Health Tools (DHTs) by primary care providers in Kentucky, Tennesee, Georgia, and North Carolina. You can read more in this flyer.

We are prioritizing providers providing care in underserved communities in the southeast region due to the prevalent health disparities and poor health outcomes experienced by residents of these communities, with a particular focus on diabetes and maternal morbidity and mortality. As highlighted by the disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on minority and underserved communities, it is vital that the clinicians serving these communities have the tools and resources they need.

Participants will receive a $50 gift card by completing the 10 minute survey HERE.


Is your practice struggling to meet the demands of achieving value-based, high quality care in today’s ever changing world of healthcare? Have you started working towards practice transformation, but are unsure how to handle the next steps to solidify the foundation for patient-centered, value-based care?

The Kentucky REC is here to help with our new and exciting Individual Module Concepts for Practice Transformation. Whether you would like guidance with integrating Care Management, Care Coordination or Quality Improvement modules, we can provide expert assistance as you tackle one or more of these necessary pieces to value-based care. Not only will this transform your practice, but it can help you prepare for the Patient-Centered Medical Home and Specialty Practice model of care.

You decide which Modules fit your practice and patient needs the best. Or, if you are ready for complete Practice Transformation, we can help with Patient-Centered Medical Home or Specialty Practice transformation and recognition.

Join Kentucky REC experts on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 for an in-depth look at our new module concepts.

Wednesday November 4, 12:30 – 1:30 pm ET

Contact us at Kentucky REC with your questions about practice transformation. Our team of experts is here to help: 859-323-3090.


We want to make sure you don’t miss key dates and information from CMS for the Quality Payment Program. Below are recent updates to consider for the 2020 Program Year close out and the start of the 2021 Program Year.


QPP 2017 & 2018 Data Validation & Audit Results

DVA process for the 2017 and 2018 performance periods will be used for educational purposes only and audited MIPS clinicians will not be subject to a MIPS final score or payment adjustment change based on the DVA results.

Start of Final 90 Days 2020 Program Year

October 1, 2020, for performance categories such as Promoting Interoperability (PI) and Improvement Activities (IA) that only require at least 90 consecutive day performance periods.

Virtual Group Election Period for MIPS 2021 Performance Year

To form a virtual group, an election must be submitted to CMS via e-mail at from October 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time). You can read more about this choice HERE.
Understanding Your Feedback Reports Webinar


The Quality Payment Program Developer Preview is Now Open for PY 2020

The QPP Developer Preview environment is now open for testing QPP submissions for performance year 2020. This update may not support all web browsers. In advance of the security update, you can test your web browser connections HERE. If you experience an error message, you have an outdated operating system or web browser, and you will need to update it to be able to access

2021 Program Year Final Rule

At some time in November to December, we expect CMS to release the Final Rule for the 2021 Program Year. It is set to go into effect January 1, 2021, and is anticipated to impact both the 2020 and 2021 Program years.

Virtual Group Election Period for MIPS 2021 Performance Year

To form a virtual group, an election must be submitted to CMS via e-mail to from October 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 (11:59 p.m. Eastern Time). You can read more about this choice HERE.

QPP Year 4: Attestation Prep Webinar


End of 2020 Reporting Period

For Program Year 2020, in all performance categories, the final possible day of reporting is December 31, 2020.

2020 Hardship Application Due

If you would like to submit a hardship application you must submit your application to CMS HERE by Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

  • may qualify for a re-weighting of the PI performance category to 0%
  • may qualify for a re-weighting of any or all MIPS performance categories to 0%

2021 Virtual Group Election Period Closes

Virtual Group Election for 2021 Program Year must be submitted by December 31, 2020.

QPP Year 5 Final Rule Webinar


2020 Program Year Attestation Timeframe Opens

January 4, 2021 Submission Window opens for PY 2020
and is set to close on March 31, 2021

2021 Program Year Begins

January 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021

Payment Adjustment for Program Year 2019 Begins

January 1, 2021

Stay tuned for our 2021 Education Calendar Release!


As you look at your QPP Feedback Report for the 2019 Program Year, you may not realize how much information it contains to help you identify areas for improvement.

Our Kentucky REC expert advisors will guide you through the dense Feedback Report and show you how to use the information to push you into a strong start for 2021! We will review how to unpack the information from CMS to identify both opportunities and strengths across the four performance categories, with a special focus on Quality and Cost.

Free Webinar – QPP Year 4: Understanding Feedback Reports
Thursday, October 22, 2020 12:30 PM ET


Contact the experts at Kentucky REC for all your QPP, MIPS, and APM questions. We’re here to help: 859-323-3090.


HIPAA 101: Are Your Admin Passwords Vulnerable? Are You Changing Them Periodically?

On September 23, 2020, CHSPSC LLC, (“CHSPSC”) agreed to pay $2,300,000 to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and to adopt a corrective action plan to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules related to a breach affecting over six million people. CHSPSC provides a variety of business associate services, including IT and health information management, to hospitals and physician clinics indirectly owned by Community Health Systems, Inc., in Franklin, Tennessee.

In April 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) notified CHSPSC that it had traced a cyberhacking group’s advanced persistent threat to CHSPSC’s information system. Despite this notice, the hackers continued to access and exfiltrate the protected health information (PHI) of 6,121,158 individuals until August 2014. The hackers used compromised administrative credentials to remotely access CHSPSC’s information system through its virtual private network (VPN).

OCR’s investigation found longstanding, systemic noncompliance with the HIPAA Security Rule including failure to conduct a risk analysis, and failures to implement information system activity review, security incident procedures, and access controls.

“The health care industry is a known target for hackers and cyberthieves. The failure to implement the security protections required by the HIPAA Rules, especially after being notified by the FBI of a potential breach, is inexcusable,” said OCR Director Roger Severino.

In addition to the monetary settlement, CHSPSC has agreed to a robust corrective action plan that includes two years of monitoring and the following:
• Review and revise its policies and procedures regarding technical access controls for any and all software applications and network or server equipment and systems to ensure authorized access is limited to the minimum amount necessary and to prevent impermissible access and disclosure of ePHI.

• Review and revise its policies and procedures regarding information system activity review for the regular review of audit logs, access reports, and security incident tracking reports to monitor and respond to suspicious events.

• Review and revise its policies and procedures regarding Security Incident Procedures and Response and Reporting to identify and respond to a known security incident, mitigate, to the extent practicable, the harmful effects of the security incident, and document the security incident and its outcome.

• Review and revise its policies and procedures regarding password management, specifically relating to password strength and safeguarding.

The full resolution agreement and corrective action plan may be found here.

Contact us at Kentucky REC with your HIPAA questions. We’re here to help and are available at 859-323-3090.


The Quality Team at Kentucky REC helps organizations large and small on numerous quality improvement initiatives. We have worked with Kentucky organizations on projects like the example below from the Advisory Board, featuring a hospital that successfully reduced hospital admissions.

How Markham Hospital reduced avoidable admissions by providing care to patients at home

See how Markham Stouffville Hospital, a 350-bed community hospital in Ontario, Canada, created a hospital-to-home program and decreased ED visits for enrolled patients by 80%.

Executive Summary: Some complex patients need medical care but not necessarily an acute care bed. Yet clinicians sometimes admit these patients to acute care because they worry those patients won’t access the care they need in the community.

The Organization: Markham Stouffville Hospital, a 350-bed community hospital in Ontario, Canada, created a hospital-to-home program in 2017.

The Approach: Eligible complex but medically stable patients receive care from an interdisciplinary team at home rather than in a hospital.

The result: Within six months of implementing the hospital-to-home program, Markham saw an 80% decrease in ED visits among enrolled patients. Patients enrolled in the program also reported high satisfaction with services, quality of care, and support from hospital-to-home staff.

1. Identify target patient population that will benefit most
2. Enroll eligible patients in hospital-to-home program
3. Leverage an interdisciplinary team to deliver care at home


The hospital-to-home program improved readmission rates at Markham Stouffville and increased patient satisfaction. By receiving care at home, patients also decrease their risk of hospital-acquired infections.

80% Decline in ED visits for enrolled patients over 6 months.
95% Patient satisfaction with program services, quality of care, and support from hospital to home staff.;

You can read details of the study here.

Contact us at Kentucky REC with your questions about quality improvement. Our team of experts is here to help: 859-323-3090.


Organized Approaches to Improve Colon Cancer Outcomes

The Kentucky Regional Extension Center was proud to partner with the Kentucky Department for Public Health and other key partners on a five year Center for Disease Control and Prevention grant: Organized Approaches to Improve Colon Cancer Outcomes. As health information technology advisors we worked with grantee practices (seven federally qualified health centers) to use their certified electronic health records to implement evidence based interventions and make significant improvement in their colon cancer screening rates. The Kentucky Cancer Consortium Partner Spotlight from September 16, 2020, provides an overview of the project.

Kentucky Department for Public Health: Organized Approaches to Improve Colon Cancer Outcomes

In 2015, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) was selected to participate in a five year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) focused on improving Colorectal Cancer outcomes. In the course of this work, a team of colon cancer and health system experts assisted seven Federally Qualified Health Centers in reviewing baseline screening rate data, assessing current screening practices, and identifying opportunities for improvement in various clinics across the state. The health systems then implemented evidence based interventions, and addressed workflow gaps found during the assessment process.

These Evidence Based Interventions (EBI’s) included:

Provider assessment and feedback – generating reports on provider performance in delivering or offering screening to clients (assessment) and presenting providers with information about their performance in providing screening performance (feedback).

Provider reminders – inform healthcare providers that it is time for a client’s cancer screening test (called “a reminder”) or that the client is overdue for screening (called “a recall”). The reminders can be provided in different ways, such as in client charts or by email.

Client reminders – written (letter, postcard, or email) or telephone messages (including automated messages) advising people that they are due for screening or to complete a scheduled screening

Reducing structural barriers – addressing non-economic burdens or obstacles that make it difficult for people to access cancer screening. Interventions designed to reduce these barriers may facilitate access to cancer screening services.

Patient Navigation – providing coaching to patients on the process for CRC screening and providing support to address barriers such as transportation

From baseline to May 2020, CRC screening rates between all 7 participating health systems improved between 2-29.6% (with an average of 16.1%)! Each health system made different workflow changes to improve their CRC screening workflows to increase their screening rate. The common thread was improving use of stool based testing (FIT or Cologuard) for average risk patients, supported by improving patient education on the process of completing and returning stool based tests, using provider assessment and feedback reports to track progress and making use of patient navigators to support patients in the screening process.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has received funding for a new five year cycle of funding from CDC and will begin working with 5 new health systems later this year. Key partners in the work include the Kentucky Regional Extension Center, the American Cancer Society, the Kentucky Primary Care Association, the Kentucky Cancer Programs at both UK and UL, and the Kentucky Cancer Consortium.

Contact us at Kentucky REC with your questions about quality improvement. Our team of experts is here to help: 859-323-3090.