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The Stimulus Bill, the Physician, and the EHR

Overview - How to Qualify - What does it mean to me? - How can GroupOne help? - Pricing - FAQs

Stimulus Bill Overview

The Stimulus Bill is a golden opportunity for physicians to get paid to realize the full benefits of a modern EHR system. The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act was signed into law on February 17, 2009. The health IT component of the Bill, the HITECH Act, appropriates $19.2 billion dollars to encourage the adoption of electronic health records. The Stimulus Bill should help provide most physicians in the United States with an electronic health record system at ZERO net cost to the physician. For some, the incentive payment is enough to cover the cost of a top-of- the line EHR system while producing a “surplus” of $20,000 - $55,000. The opportunity presented by the bill to the American Physician is substantial. Read more here.

 

Video: How to Conduct a Meaningful Use Risk Analysis

How to Qualify For Payments of $39,000 - $64,000 Per Physician

Reading the 267 pages of the HITECH section of the bill can by tedious and time consuming. As such, we’ve included some of the key points relevant to the EHR incentive payment for physicians. If you have any questions regarding the actual language, please contact us and we will do our best to help.

Basically, the Bill provides that qualified physicians who utilize a certified electronic health record in a “meaningful” way will receive incentive payments through additional reimbursements via either Medicare or Medicaid, depending upon the individual physician’s payor mix.

  • Starting in 2011, “meaningful” EHR users can earn $44,000 under the Medicare plan and $64,000 under the Medicaid plan over 5 years. (The maximum payment available beginning in 2013 is $39,000)
  • Early adopters benefits most as about 70% of the payments comes in the first two years.
  • Those engaged in PQRS and electronic prescribing can earn an additional $6,000 - $8,000 per year beginning immediately.
  • Physicians that do not adopt an EHR by 2015 will be penalized though % decreases in Medicare reimbursements rates.

More information here on How to Qualify for the Stimulus.

 

Meaningful Use Stage 1

 

What does the Stimulus Bill mean for your medical practice?

If you currently utilize a reputable EHR, congratulations as you are ahead of the curve. You may be on track to receive full benefit of the stimulus package when the payments begin. However, to be eligible to receive full benefits you need to demonstrate “meaningful” use of a certified EHR system. Purchase and implementation are not enough. “Meaningful” is defined initially in the legislation as:

  • Using certified EHR technology that includes electronic prescribing
  • Using EHR technology that allows electronic exchange of health information
  • Eligible professionals must submit information for the period on the clinical quality measures and other measures selected by the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

 

EMR Training Consult Available Here

 

If your current EHR has received CCHIT certification, then you should once again be ahead of the curve.

Stay in contact with your EHR vendor for more details about the definition of “meaningful” use and what qualifies as a certified product. If your use of the system is lacking, the vendors should be able to offer additional training and /or programs that can help increase the proficiency of your EHR utilization.

If you and your practice do not currently utilize a reputable EHR, the TIME TO ACT IS NOW! While it is true that the stimulus payments have already begun, the window for qualifying to receive the maximum possible payments for your practice will close quickly for several reasons.

First of all, to qualify for the incentive payments you must demonstrate “meaningful” use of a certified EHR. Purchase and implementation are not enough. The transition to a new EHR system can be a timely process when you include the following steps: evaluate your workflows, develop your selection criteria, select a vendor, develop your implementation plan, install your EHR, connect to other providers and have your physicians fully functionally. Typically, the time requirements of the steps increase in proportion to the size of the group. If you haven’t started the process, now is the time!

Next, if you do not act before the “masses” you may have a difficult time getting on any vendor’s implementation schedule in the near future. As indicated earlier, only 20% - 30% of the market has implemented an EHR system. The Congressional Budget Office predicts 90% of physicians will be using an EHR in a matter of just a few years. That means 60% to 70% of the market is going to try to get implemented in the next several years. Even prior to the Stimulus Act, some vendors had waiting lists up to 6 months. Those physician who wait, may have little chance of qualifying as an early adopter.

Furthermore, great opportunities are already in place and physicians should take advantage of them now. Besides the many cost saving opportunities and positive ROI traits inherent in an EHR, CMS has current incentive programs in place (PQRS and electronic prescribing) that could generate $6,000 - $8,000 per physician per year.

Read more on what the Stimulus means to YOUR practice.

How can GroupOne help???

GroupOne Health Source is a Gold Certified distributor for the award winning eClinicalWorks EMR System. Our firm recently received a “Best in Class” ranking by Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) in its 3rd Annual What Counts Survey. GroupOne is uniquely qualified to implement this system because we utilize this system when providing billing services for medical practices.

 

eClinicalWorks Webinar

 

eClinicalWorks is a totally integrated practice management and electronic medical record system and a CCHIT® Certified 08 Ambulatory EHR. Because of its affordability and ease of use, eClinicalWorks is the proven solution to physician groups with almost any specialty and any size (click for sample of eClinicalWorks Customers). In a recent AMA article, it was estimated that overall, the acceptable success rate of EMR implementation is about 70%. eClinicalWorks is achieving a 99.3% success rate, an important factor considering the “meaningful” use requirement of the Stimulus Bill. Medical Economics has featured eClinicalWorks as the best EMR (click for copy of article). The unique combination of quality and affordability has placed eClinicalWorks on Inc. magazine’s list of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Furthermore, eClinicalWorks has a 98.9% renewal rate based on figures from support renewal agreements, one of the highest customer retention rates in the industry.

HITECH Warranty - eClinicalWorks has made a bold and unique commitment to support its customers’ ability to meet “meaningful use” standards of the HITECH Act by putting the commitment in writing. As part of the eClinicalWorks License Agreement, eClinicalWorks warrants that its software will support “Meaningful Use” criteria as defined by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRP). The warranty helps address one of the biggest barriers to early EMR adoption faced by healthcare providers, uncertainty around future standards.

More infomation on the GroupOne Advantage.

Pricing - eClinicalWorks is generally regarded as one of the most affordable EMR’s in the industry. Perpetual licenses are $10,000 for the first provider and $5,000 for each additional provider regardless of number of users with no additional software required. The example below illustrates the estimated stimulus surplus available to each physician in a 3 provider physician group who implements the eClinicalWorks integrated solution (PM and EHR).

Stimulus Payment / Provider $44,000
Est. eClinicalWorks Total implemen. Cost / Provider $12,000
Est. Stimulus Payment Surplus Per Provider $32,000
Est. Stimulus Payment Surplus to 3 Provider Practice $96,000

Leasing options are available including $0 upfront and low initial year payment options so that payments for the system correlate to Stimulus payments received by you for using the system. More pricing information here.

The GroupOne Advantage

For qualified physicians, GroupOne provides complimentary use of the eClinicalWorks system as part of its professional billing services. Avoid paying upfront license fees for the system and ongoing support and maintenance, but still qualify for the $39,000 in stimulus payments.

The transition to a modern medical system is no longer a question of if, but when.

Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions for the Stimulus Bill.

For info on eClinicalWorks and the HITECH Act, CLICK HERE.

For help or more information, please call 800-769-5288 or email stimulus@grouponehealthsource.com

For additional information on HITECH, please visit the HealthIT.hhs.gov page

This information represents GroupOne’s interpretation of the bill and should not be considered legal advice. It should be used for informational purposes only.