Syndromic Surveillance-Meaningful Use

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Current Status of Syndromic Surveillance in Texas 

As of February 2016, there is not a statewide syndromic surveillance system in Texas and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) does not collect syndromic surveillance data.

DSHS is working with local health departments across Texas and other partners to develop and implement a new, modern syndromic surveillance system that can serve to help identify emerging health threats and inform local decision-making while protecting individuals’ privacy. After completing a participation agreement and supplying data, provider participants will be able to access a set of data analysis tools and make data available to health departments for assisting in community response and health planning.

All hospitals/hospital systems will be able to participate in the new system. The data format for submission will be consistent with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Record Incentive Payment Programs (EHR Incentive Programs). Information about connecting to the new statewide system (Texas Syndromic Surveillance or TxS2) will be posted here when it is available in 2016.

There are two syndromic surveillance systems that currently operate within Texas.

  • Tarrant County Public Health operates a syndromic surveillance system for Health Service Region (HSR) 2/3 (see map of health service regions at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/regions/default.shtm). If your organization is located within HSR 2/3, please contact Bill Stephens at wfstephens@tarrantcounty.com or (817) 321-5365 to obtain information about submitting data to this system.
  • The Texas Association of Local Health Officials (TALHO) began a syndromic surveillance system prior to the organization becoming defunct. The former TALHO system is currently being operated by City of Houston Health Department under contract with DSHS. Data providers currently submitting data to the former TALHO system should continue to do so until the new statewide system is available. If your organization is located within HSR 6/5S, please contact Wesley McNeely at wesley.mcneely@houstontx.gov or (281) 433-7934 to obtain information about submitting data to this system.

Meaningful Use Objective 10 (Public Health Reporting), Measure 2 (Syndromic Surveillance)

CMS released an updated rule for meaningful use, effective December 15, 2015. See www.dshs.state.tx.us/mu for additional information.

Measure
Syndromic Surveillance Reporting: The EP, EH, or CAH is in active engagement with a public health agency to submit syndromic surveillance data.

Exclusion for EPs: Any EP meeting one or more of the following criteria may be excluded from the syndromic surveillance reporting measure if the EP:

  • Is not in a category of providers from which ambulatory syndromic surveillance data is collected by their jurisdiction's syndromic surveillance system;
  • Operates in a jurisdiction for which no public health agency is capable of receiving electronic syndromic surveillance data from EPs in the specific standards required to meet the CEHRT definition at the start of the EHR reporting period; or
  • Operates in a jurisdiction where no public health agency has declared readiness to receive syndromic surveillance data from EPs at the start of the EHR reporting period.

Exclusion for EHs/CAHs: Any EH or CAH meeting one or more of the following criteria may be excluded from the syndromic surveillance reporting measure if the EH or CAH:

  • Does not have an emergency or urgent care department;
  • Operates in a jurisdiction for which no public health agency is capable of receiving electronic syndromic surveillance data from EHs or CAHs in the specific standards required to meet the CEHRT definition at the start of the EHR reporting period; or
  • Operates in a jurisdiction where no public health agency has declared readiness to receive syndromic surveillance data from eligible hospitals or CAHs at the start of the EHR reporting period.

Please retain a copy of this web page as documentation supporting the status of statewide syndromic surveillance by DSHS for any attestation you or your organization may make if you participate in either the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive payment programs. 

If you have further questions about syndromic surveillance at DSHS, please contact syndromic.surveillance@dshs.state.tx.us.

Questions about participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program should be directed to HealthIT@tmhp.com.

Additional information about participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program can be found at https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/Basics.html.

If you have other questions about meaningful use and public health, you may contact the DSHS Meaningful Use mailbox at MeaningfulUseTX@dshs.state.tx.us.

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Last updated February 05, 2016