Getting Started with EHR Implementation

Registration for the ARRA’s EHR Incentive program opened on January 3, 2011. There are three steps you must complete to qualify for the EHR stimulus package under the Medicare or Medicaid program:

  • Implement and use certified EHR technology
  • Demonstrate Meaningful Use
  • Attest for Incentive Payments

Although becoming HIPAA and HITECH compliant is not an explicit requirement, it is implied in the ability to demonstrate the meaningful use (MU).

While implementing EHR and demonstrating MU may seem complex, the hardest part may be getting started. You do not need to have the EHR technology implemented in order to register for the incentive program, implementation can be done after the registration. It is important to note that there are some deadlines to meet to receive the maximum stimulus funding under the Medicare program, so you should get started as early as possible.  An important date to note is October 1, 2011 – this is the last day for eligible professionals to begin their 90-day reporting period for calendar year 2011 for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.

To help eligible providers understand various aspects of the incentive program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) provides detailed up to date information on their website.  You can also register for their listserve which helps eligible providers stay on schedule by notifying the subscribers of upcoming deadlines, new information, FAQ documents, updates on new developments and questions and concerns gathered by CMS from eligible providers.

Another resource is your local technology Regional Extension Center (REC), which is an authorized extension of Health Information Technology Extension Program of HITECH act.  The goal of the program is to provide outreach and support services to at least 100,000 priority primary care providers within two years. The REC offers technical assistance, guidance, and information on best practices to support and accelerate health care providers’ efforts to become meaningful users of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). For Chicago, CHITREC focuses on 606xx zip and offers various information and resources related to EHR.

Register at NetFunction website to learn how we can help you with your EMR and HIPAA/HITECH compliance.

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