The HHS Office for the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced today that nearly one-third of all primary care providers -plan to work with their Regional Extension Center (REC) to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs as a way to transition from paper records to certified EHRs.
Designed to jump start EHR adoption, the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, part of the Recovery Act, created a nationwide network of RECs comprised of local nonprofits, to provide guidance and resources to help eligible professionals make the transition from paper records to certified EHRs. Eligible providers that meet meaningful use of certified EHRs criteria may be eligible for incentive payments under the Recovery Act.
The 62 RECs focus on assisting primary care providers and those providers serving traditionally medically underserved populations as they take part in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and meaningfully use EHRs in ways that can reduce health care costs, increase patient safety, and improve the overall quality of patient care. These providers face challenges in EHR adoption including tight budgets, over-stretched health information technology staff, and limited broadband access.
One-half of the providers committed to making the transition to certified EHRs are in small group practices or consortia of small group practices. The remaining providers focus on the underserved with 18 percent in community health centers, 11 percent in public hospitals, and 21 percent in other underserved settings, such as critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, and practices in medically underserved areas.
RECs serve the majority of primary care providers in small practices in rural areas. Today’s figures include over half of the targeted 1,776 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and throughout Indian Country.
A complete listing of REC grant recipients and additional information about Regional Extension Centers may be found at http://www.HealthIT.hhs.gov/REC/.
For information about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, see http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms.
For information about HHS Recovery Act health IT programs, see http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/announcements/by_topic.html#hit.
For Help With Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs
If you need assistance understanding, managing or defending licensing board, peer review or other requirements or actions, providing compliance or other training, reviewing or responding to these or other health care related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns/ She also regularly designs and presents risk management, compliance and other training for health care providers, professional associations and others including highly popular programs on “Sex Drugs & Rock ‘N Role: Managing Personal Misconduct in Health Care,” “Managing Physician Performance” and others.. Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications. You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.
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