CMS Awards $24 Million For IT Services - InformationWeek

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Healthcare // Electronic Health Records

CMS Awards $24 Million For IT Services

Companion Data Services received a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contract to host the National Level Repository, which will track healthcare providers' meaningful use of technology.

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As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to modernize its computer systems in preparation for incentive payments to healthcare providers, the federal agency has selected Companion Data Services to provide data processing and hosting operations for the CMS National Level Repository.

The repository will track incentive payments to healthcare providers deemed to be meaningful users of technology, including electronic health records and other systems that improve CMS beneficiaries' healthcare experience.

Under the terms of the contract, CDS will provide CMS with data processing and hosting services for one year, with four one-year renewal options. If all options are exercised, the value of the contract would be approximately $24 million. CDS will host the NLR system on a state-of-the-art zLinux platform, which combines significant mainframe processing power with application design flexibility.

"CDS is very excited to support the modernization of our nation's healthcare system as it transitions to EHRs," Steve Hammons, CDS chief operating officer, said in a statement. "This technology is vitally important to improving healthcare outcomes, reducing medical errors, and lowering healthcare costs. We look forward to providing additional technical solutions to the federal government that accomplish these goals."

CDS staff will host and operate the repository at the company's headquarters in Columbia, S.C. The data center complex, which is more than 100,000 square feet, features specialized physical, data, and network security and disaster recovery capabilities. According to CDS, in 2009 the company processed approximately 65% of all Medicare claims, representing approximately 800 million claims.

CDS will provide application development consultant services to Northrop Grumman under a separate contract. Northrop Grumman was recently selected by CMS to design and develop the NLR system.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, establishes incentive payments for medical practices and hospitals enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid that invest in healthcare information technology. A major goal of the legislation is to improve healthcare through the adoption of EHRs.

CDS provides health information technology hosting solutions to both government and commercial entities. The company operates one of the largest healthcare data centers supporting Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, Medicare Advantage, and other private and commercial health plan companies.

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