As a part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery act of 2009 federal stimulus money is available to physicians who adopt an electronic medical records system. The bill appropriates almost $20 billion for the incorporation of electronic health records with $1.2 billion alone dedicated to EMR/HER implementation. Incentives are paid through increased Medicaid or Medicare reimbursements for those that qualify.
In order to qualify for the EMR stimulus money physicians are required to achieve the “meaningful use” standard, this means that physicians must demonstrate that their EHR benefits the quality of health care they provide.
Physicians that accept Medicare payments can receive up to $44k in federal stimulus funds across five years which began in 2011 or the first year where the first stage of “meaningful use” standards are achieved. However, under the Medicaid program, providers with more than 30% of their patients paying via Medicaid (20% for pediatricians) can receive up to $64K in incentives over the five year period starting in 2011. Be advised that if EMR/HER deadlines are not met by 2015 that government may assess a series of strict penalties. It is imperative to note that there are three stages to meaningful use and only one has been formalized as of January, 2012. Additional deadlines for meeting the Meaningful Use standards of Stage 2 have been postponed until 2014, Stage 3 is of course set to be addressed after the implementation of Stage 2.
To avoid being penalized, physicians and administrators should prepare by knowing the process, time limits, and requirements of adopting EMR software. EMR conversions promise to create a more efficient, accurate and productive healthcare business, all at a lower cost as well as reduced turnaround times on physician’s medication orders and patient records request. As more health providers adopt EMR systems the industry overall will become more efficient. Change is sometimes uncomfortable and often times necessary, I am always here to help you along the way.
Over the course of the last five years I have had the opportunity to work with several practices both large and small, independent and government funded to meet the first stage of “meaningful use”. As a recruitment and staffing organization that has the ability to provide practices with employees for contract assignments I have placed a great number of individuals directly in the medical records departments to assist the practice and to help with the day to day operations of medical records while at the same time beginning the process of scanning and indexing records into their new EMR/EHR systems. I have noticed that most practices go into these projects thinking it will only take a few months to complete the projects (of course this is dependent on the size of the practice). We have all learned that this process takes much longer than originally anticipated, in some cases it takes well over a year! If your practice is in the process of converting, at the beginning stages of a conversion or would simply like to discuss how I can help facilitate a conversion, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]