Blum Report - October 2020

Welcome to The Blum Report - October 2020

Dear HIMSS NCA members- without the opportunity to speak in-person and provide the monthly Blum Report, I will try to keep you updated on hot topics, provide information on how our chapter is addressing Health Information Technology (HIT) Advocacy and share information on engagement opportunities. We proudly proclaim our chapter as “federally-focused” and consequently our Advocacy Team will share updates or point you in the right direction for additional information or expertise. We will also keep you informed of the current activities in the District of Columbia pertinent to understanding the local environment as well activities of nearby Maryland and Virginia HIMSS chapter events.

 HIMSS Global Health Equity Week 19-23 October

HIMSS is using a partner-driven platform approach to launch Global Health Equity Week, an initiative focused on displaying the value, potential of health information and technology to transform health and minimize health disparities. HIMSS and the health information and technology community will highlight the role of digital health as a bridge to patient wellness by focusing on these topics:

  • Maternal health
  • Patient identification and safety
  • Public health data modernization
  • Telehealth

Participants will experience opportunities to elevate conversations about care and wellness and take actionable steps to support healthy communities. Help HIMSS lead the charge for health equity with insights, best practices and resources through virtual and in-person education, events and networking during the Global Health Equity Week.

The link to the schedule and registration:

Please note that HIMSS has sent out a notification of this event to members. I want to make sure you don’t miss this. You can also invite friends who are not HIMSS members to participate in this virtual/no cost event, which may encourage them to join our local NCA chapter.

If you came to HIMSS NCA chapter meetings last year, you may recall that I spoke quite a bit about Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and how HIT can enable increased equity regarding access to care. The COVID Pandemic highlighted the value of telemedicine /telehealth. Take part in our HIMSS newly launched Virtual March to protect telehealth access for Medicare beneficiaries post-COVID-19!

The link is: . It’s easy and gives you a voice with your elected officials. DO THIS NOW!

Mary’s Center- A HIMSS NCA Charity Recipient

I’m pleased to give an update on the Mary’s Center. They were a HIMSS NCA charity awardee and used the donation to provide additional telehealth capability. Here’s an update from Leah Shoval, BSN, RN, IBCLC, Director of Care Coordination.

“Numerous obstacles make it difficult for our patients to access medical care: impaired physical mobility, transportation barriers, or lack of childcare services. Skipping important healthcare appointments may lead to suboptimal health outcomes – especially for patients with one or more chronic illnesses. To combat the problem, Mary’s Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center in the Washington, DC area, launched its telehealth program in early 2017 to complement the work in our five local health clinics. Mary’s Center’s telehealth program is comprehensive and incorporates telemedicine, teletherapy, teledental, and tele-care coordination, to bring these critical services to participants who are unable to come to the clinic for services.

Mary’s Center’s telehealth program operates through two distinct synchronous models: virtual and facilitated. (1) Our virtual telehealth services are provided by clinicians connecting with their patients through a HIPAA-compliant platform; and (2) our facilitated telemedicine and teledental programs use specially-trained Medical or Dental Assistants (MAs/DAs) to connect patients with providers from the convenience of our participants’ homes. The MA/DA travels to the home, which allows for increased access to care coordination, blood draws, vaccines, and enhanced patient monitoring through the use of specially-designed equipmentThis equipment, which was obtained partially through the generous charity donation from HIMSS NCA, allows the provider to, for example, assess fetal heart rate and tones, listen to heart/lung sounds, perform dental x-ray, or closely examine skin, inner-ear, nose, dentition or throat. The MA/DA brings an internet “hotspot” and laptop and launches the video teleconference session. The participant and provider then see and speak with each other in real-time over a secure internet connection. With these options, we increase access to care to our most at risk populations and improve health outcomes”.

Pozez Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Northern Virginia - A HIMSS NCA Charity Recipient

‘This investment was intended to purchase a set of tables to use with children, teens, and adults living with special needs to increase their ability to use mobile devices and apps to organize themselves and improve their individual skill development. For example, participants would learn to effectively integrate mobile devices into their personal lives, learning every day skills that will help them live as independently as possible. Potential new/improved skills might be: tracking medications and personal finances, maintaining personal schedules, and furthering long term personal goals.


As with everything else this year, COVID-19 has forced us to be agile in the way we meet our goals. Our facilities closed on March 13 and nearly all of our programming moved to our Virtual J online portal and outreach through social media dramatically increased. While fitness and childcare services have re-opened, in person programming for our community members with special needs has remained online. Our staff has been trouble shooting, coaching, and encouraging our community members to integrate technology into their lives in all sorts of ways.  We are pleased to share on-line participation numbers with you, demonstrating the breadth of opportunities for community members living with special needs.

Virtual Opportunity

# Participants

Social Skills




Social Clubs



















COVID has forced us all to adjust quickly to changing societal norms. For people who live with special needs, this can be incredibly difficult and anxiety producing. Our staff is working overtime to support our community through this time. Your Charity Award is helping us achieve this and we greatly appreciate your investment in this community.

If you would like further information about Pozez JCC programming for people living with special needs or if you have specific questions about this award, please feel free to contact Michelle Pearlstein (, 703-537-3033).”

Health Information Technology and Exchange in the District of Columbia

Deniz Soyer, MBA, MPH, Project Manager, Health Information Technology & Exchange, Health Care Reform & Innovation Administration, Department of Health Care Finance, Health Information Technology and Exchange in the District of Columbia, who has presented at our Chapter previously, will be providing the Chapter monthly updates on “What’s Going on in DC?”  Deniz’s contact information is


The DC Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) leads implementation of health information technology and exchange in support of the District’s goals to provide actionable health-related information whenever and wherever it is needed. The District has done tremendous work over the past several months, including activities to educate and build awareness of HIE and telehealth in the community. Below are updates regarding recent activities:


The DC HIE: Increasing Health Information Exchange Capacity for Providers

In April, DHCF announced Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) as the District’s Designated HIE Entity; making CRISP DHCF’s organizational partner in supporting the ongoing maintenance and operation of the DC HIE infrastructure and services. In addition to CRISP, DHCF announced the District of Columbia Primary Care Association (DCPCA) as having met the requirements to be a District Registered HIE Entity. The announcement fulfilled the vision of the DC HIE articulated in the 2018 State Medicaid Health IT Plan.

The District is continuing to see a steady increase in the number of active CRISP users that demonstrates the effectiveness of the health IT and HIE connectivity technical assistance program. The number of active CRISP users (10,414 as of August 2020), demonstrates the effectiveness of the strong partnership between Enlightened Inc, Zane Networks, DCPCA, CRISP DC, and Children’s National Medical Center to connect District Medicaid Provider organizations to the DC HIE. Since January 2017, there has been a 51% increase in active DC CRISP users and a 10% increase since the start of FY20.

Health IT to Support Social Determinants of Health

The Community Resource Information Exchange (CoRIE) project launched in March 2020 to help services Medicaid beneficiaries’ social services needs to support person-centered care by streamlining risk screening and referrals to community-based organizations. Based on a competitive grant process, DHCF awarded CRISP, Inc. a grant to develop and implement the technical solution. CoRIE will integrate community resource inventory, risk screening, and referral information to facilitate capture and exchange of social determinants of health (SDOH) data among District health care and social service providers.

Transforming Behavioral Health for Improved Access and Outcomes in Care Delivery

On June 22, following a competitive application process, DHCF awarded $951,720 to CRISP, Inc. to develop and implement a granular consent management solution that will allow entities participating in the DC HIE to support Medicaid beneficiaries’ ability to create, manage, sign, and revoke 42 CFR Part 2 compliant consent. The project shall also provide tailored workflow analysis, training, and implementation support so that HIE participants can adopt consent management tools. The project will also engage with a multi-state collaborative (MD, AZ, DE, WV) developing a an open-source consent management resource.

Identifying and Addressing the Needs of Providers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

DHCF and its technical assistance partners eHealthDC, Enlightened Inc., and CRISP are engaged in stakeholder activities on telemedicine and HIE in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. These activities include DHCF’s request and receipt of over $1.2 million in emergency federal funding to support telemedicine. The received funding will be used to distribute laptops and telehealth platforms to providers, as well as to establish an inter-agency collaboration with Department of Disability Services to further support telehealth efforts in the District.

Reminder:  Keep track of your HIMSS NCA meetings if you need continuing education credits. Our virtual one hour programs are certified for CEUs for HIMSS related certifications, CAHIMSS  and CPHIMS.

Stay Connected, Stay Safe and Stay Engaged- and share with me any updates.


Dan Blum
HIMSS NCA Advocacy & Community Chair