South Florida Hospital News
Monday July 16, 2018
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November 2011 - Volume 8 - Issue 5

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EMR’s and Your Deadline – Fast Approaching

In the looming harbinger of medical records online availability, the 2014-2015 Electronic Medical Records mandate is fast approaching a financially ill prepared industry. As Medicare payouts shrink, as well as the people with actual medical insurance; thus leaving the medical community to, despite stimulus monies, incentive plans, etc., dip into its already shrinking revenue stream to address the ultimate question: “Is this (EMR) a standard, or will something else come down the pike shortly?”
 
With the recent legislation pushing this initiative for moving onto the electronic platform of storing patient medical records along further —called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or the ARRA, Legislators are trying to create more funding and incentives that can assist the healthcare community that are poised to embrace and follow the EMR Act in a meaningful fashion; whose definition of meaningful is also at issue.
 
The alternative of the “carrot and stick” approach will be the penalties that are proscribed from 2015 forward which will begin at 1% and likely increase incrementally up to 5% in the following years. The “stick” portion can also come in the form of reduced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements – even more than they already have. To obtain the funding, all medical entities applying for the EMR healthcare funding should understand and prove "meaningful use" of patient medical records and the use of "certified EHR" technologies. The EMR vendor selected by the provider/clinic or its business associates has to comply with regulations, such as the standards set by the Security Rule of HIPPA in order to qualify for the monies.
 
As the 1 October 2011 passes, so does the deadline to apply for the 2011 EHR incentive, leaving everyone scrambling to implement for the 90-day reporting period. Will you be in compliance during the entire 90-day period? Data must be reported for the entire 90 days with some measures that would not be possible to accomplish retroactively.
 
If you begin reporting on 1 January 2012, you will still have the opportunity to earn the full $44,000 over the 2012-2016 period. You will be in compliance at the end of March and receive your incentive monies by May 2012.
 
There is an impending explosion of electronic records companies in the next 12-18 months, and physicians and their business partners need to position themselves for the onslaught that will surely overwhelm office managers, doctors, and staff alike. Please remember that it is not just the selection, but the:
1. Hardware upgrades to include tablet/Ipad – Android usage
2. Billing compliance issues with your medical billing provider, or in house staff
3. Last, but not least, the training it will take rearranging schedules to learn the devices, software, etc.
 
Please remember that to err is human, and to really complicate things, you need a computer. You can also see ePrescriptions finally coming into your office along with other unforeseen items.
 
Think long and hard about it – and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
 
Robert Seitz is the CTO of Support Services Group, LLC and currently consults in the medical and legal communities. You can reach him at Robert@MSSG.US.
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