The government wants to move the health industry into the digital age and is giving incentives and deadline for those who adopt electronic health records (EHR). As with all government benefits this electronic health records directive comes with limitations. For all those who are not able to meet the electronic health records deadline for the implementation the government will penalize them.
For physicians who not yet adopted the EHR/EMR systems or are not able demonstrate the “meaningful use” by the deadline in 2015 their Medicare reimbursements will be decreased by 1%. The rate for deduction will increase in the succeeding years by 2% in 2016, 3% in 2017, 4% in 2018 and up to 95% in the future adjustments.
Digital Health Records Incentive
As part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, physicians are able to receive up to $44,000 in Medicare incentive payments starting from 2011 for implementing an EHR system. Physicians are required to demonstrate the “meaningful use”. The “meaningful use” is measure in stages. The stage 1 started in 2011 and ended in 2012. The physicians were required to fulfill 14 to 15 core requirements and select five additional from the menu of 10 options. Some of these requirements consisted of electronic file system for all patients’ health records, transcription services and medical billing system. Physicians are required to wait until the end of 2014 to meet the stage 2. For stage 3 it is yet to be defined.
To avoid themselves from being penalized, physicians are required to prepare by understanding the EHR/EMR directive and recognizing the requirements and process for implementing the EHR systems. It is predicted by the experts that near the mid decade there will be more physicians that will be looking to implement that EHR/EMR as than the support staff of certified EHR/EMR can handle. As the requirements of every physician for digital electronic health records are different, the time required for the certified EHR software provider to plan, install and implement the system is around 2-4 months. The time required for training is usually six to eight months for every physician that is in practice to qualify as a “Meaningful EHR user”. But know this that it doesn’t include the time that is required to find and select an EHR Software provider that is right for the physician.