Category Archives: HIPAA

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.


Healthcare IT

So HIPAA and HITECH compliance are underway. Fines and penalties have been levied on organizations who fell victim breaches and data loss. Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and Attorney General’s office (AG) can pursue fines on behalf of the people; since they will be allowed to keep portion of fines they collect, we can expect increased compliance efforts from both agencies.

Larger hospitals, clinics and associated practices are already in the process of ensuring compliance (or have plans to get started soon) but what are the smaller, independent clinics and practitioners in the underserved communities doing to ensure compliance? They also need to meet the same compliance requirements, however, they do not have the same resources as their larger counter parts.

Then there is the EMR/EHR portion, which is not really a part of HIPAA and HITECH, but part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which provides up to $44,000 per doctor for Medicaid and $63,000 per doctor for Medicare – yes, that’s per doctor and not practice. How can the smaller clinics and practices ensure that they qualify to receive the portion of the $20 billion of the incentive?

Much information is available on the Internet about HIPAA and HITECH compliance, and ARRA EMR incentive.  In an effort to prevent digital divide we will try to distill the information and provide relevant content to help smaller clinics and practices working  within underserved communities to meet HIPAA and HITECH compliance and implement EMR solution.

© NetFunction Inc. and Adventures in HIT and BIT, 2010.

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