If you plan on leveraging the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) stimulus bill to influence medical practitioners to invest in EMR solutions, a significant milestone has been reached this week that will affect you.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Tuesday final rules to implement the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. This act provides incentive payments to eligible practitioners, hospitals and critical access hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs that adopt and successfully demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) technology.
This is a significant event, as prior to this the requirements to qualify as "meaningful use" practitioners and hospitals were not finalized. These requirements have now been defined in stage 1 meaningful use (several revisions are expected) as:
- The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner (e.g.: e-Prescribing)
- The use of certified EHR technology for electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of health care
- The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures
In addition to this, and a requirement for "meaningful use", the standards and criteria for the certification of EHR technology has now been established in the final rule.
The absence of the final rule and these provisions can be attributed to the challenges faced by Healthcare IT Providers in influencing their prospects and customers to invest in EHR, EMR and Practice Management solutions. Medical practitioners that may be eager to adopt technology solutions that benefit their practices and patients need to know how they and the solutions they invest in can help them qualify to receive the incentive payments available under the stimulus bill.
But now that the final rule has been published, it poses a significant problem for Healthcare IT Providers and their qualifying prospects and customers – TIME.
A typical EHR/EMR solution may take up to 150 days or more to close. Because of the manner in which the incentives are paid out under the stimulus and in order for the elegible practitioner to receive the maximum $44,000 benefit (more for hospitals), they need to adopt a certified solution and prove meaningful use by 2011 or 2012. This means that there may be only 6 sales cycles available to providers and their practitioner customers in order for them to receive the maximum benefit.
This poses some interesting challenges, as both EMR solutions and elegible practioners and hospitals need to meet these established requirements within the established timelines, again in order to qualify for maxiumum incentive benefits. In addition, Healthcare IT Providers will need to be trained to sell, scope and implement these solutions effectively.
Do you feel that the timelines set by the stimulus bill to achieve maximum benefit for elegible practitioners provides a realistic opportunity for success? I welcome your comments and feedback.
Stay tuned to this blog for continuing updates and information on how MSP University's educational and training programs and services will help IT Solution and Managed Services Providers participate in the Healthcare IT opportunity.
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