The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, popularly known as Meaningful Use, reimburses Eligible Providers (EPs) for purchasing and implementing certified Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems. The program reimburses EPs up to $44,000 under the Medicare track or $64,000 under Medicaid. Here’s how you can get started:
First, analyze your billing reports. To qualify for Medicare, you have to bill a minimum of $124,000 in annual allowable charges, which most EPs easily meet. Medicaid requires 30% or more of your patient base have Medicaid as primary, or possibly secondary or tertiary insurance, depending on your particular state.
Second, talk to your Regional Extension Center (REC). The REC administers HITECH in each state. They will determine if you qualify and advise you which program you should use. It is critical to get involved with them early. Google “regional extension center” and your state. California has multiple RECs, so you may have to call around to find the appropriate one.
Third, choose the program that best fits you. Medicaid pays about $20,000 in year one and makes it easier to collect the money, as you need only purchase the software. Medicare pays $18,000 in year one and requires a 90-day attestation period where you must meet 15 core and five menu requirements. As such, October 1st is the last day you can begin attestation for 2012. Be sure to register online; you need not have selected an EHR before signing up.
Fourth, conduct your EHR search in a quick, effective manner. Do not make a rash decision, but understand you are working against the clock. 2012 is the last year you can receive the full Medicare stimulus amount of $44,000 per provider. If you want to participate this year, you need to purchase your EHR this summer. Keep in mind it may take a couple of months to implement the EHR and come up to speed. You need to be absolutely comfortable with your system by October 1st to meet the meaningful use requirements.
Please let us know if we can help you with the HITECH program. Our experienced consultants can guide you through registration, EHR selection, and attestation. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.