Through the course of time, we have seen advancements in electronic claim submission, responses, and reimbursements. Now comes Electronic Health Records (EHR).
Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance companies first required electronic transmissions in the big move in ‘going paperless’. As more providers enabled their claims transmission capabilities, the question became how to handle the exceptions as well as provide documentation. The subject of medical records and document sensitivity came under scrutiny because of HIPAA laws, but the fact that the National Health Information Network is on its way into the nation’s medical system forces the requirements for compliance to be pushed into place now. It’s only a matter of time, and all communications and reimbursements will be structured around the ability to generate and accept electronic medical information. It is now widely thought that electronic health records will improve physician decisions and patient outcomes.
The Stimulus law was signed by President Obama in 2009, and the Health Information Technology initiative (HIT) is a part of that. The initiative set aside 19 billion dollars to be used in reimbursement grants to medical providers who are on board with the 2014 target date for Electronic Health Record compliance.
Are you planning to participate in the reimbursement program? If you have a computer system that is certified EHR compliant (or becoming so), it may translate into an amount between $44,000 (Medicare) and $63,750 (Medicaid) that you are eligible to receive. But you MUST start in 2011 to be eligible to receive the full reimbursement amount, as it is dispersed over a 5-6 year period.
Also coming into the limelight is the catchphrase “Meaningful use”. Meaningful use of EHRs is a goal and requirement of the adoption of EHR compliance, “…that is, their use by providers to achieve significant improvements in care. The legislation ties payments specifically to the achievement of advances in health care processes and outcomes” (Blumenthal & Tavenner, 2010).
For detailed information on the reimbursement programs, please visit https://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/
Blumenthal, D. & Tavenner, M. (2010). The “Meaningful Use” Regulation for Electronic Health Records.
New England Journal of Medicine. 2010; 363:501-504. Retrieved from