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< Back To News Questions about the EMR Incentive By Patrick Hayden

Question: Does your Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software qualify for the Inventive Payments?

Answer: To properly answer that question, you need to know these two items. First, is your EMR certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology (ONCHIT)? There are three companies that are currently approved to certify EHRs. Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), The Drummond Group and Infogard Laboratories. If your EMR is currently certified by any of these companies, that is the first step to qualifying for the incentive payments. If your current EHR was previously certified, check with the EMR vendor to ensure the certification is up to date.

In order to qualify for the incentive payments, your practice needs to have enough patient volume in order to receive the full reimbursement. For example, the Medicare Incentive is based upon the total Medicare Allowed Charges for your practice. The payment is based upon 75% of these charges, and the cap on the charges is $24,000 in the first year. This is where the maximum first year payment is expected to be $18,000 ($24,000 X 75% = $18,000). Over five years, the maximum inventive that you can receive is $44,000.

The Medicaid Incentives calculation is based upon your expenses to implement and maintain your EMR. The repayment schedule is for 10 years, and can be up to $63,750. But, you must meet these minimum benchmarks. 30% of your patients must be on a Medicaid program (20% if you are a pediatrician).

If you meet these criteria, then you are eligible for the EMR incentives.

Question: How do I get the EMR Incentive money?

Answer: The process to getting the EMR Invetive is done through meeting these requirements. First you have to have installed your EMR for a minimum of 90 days in the first year and attest that you have met the meaningful use criteria.

Second, you must demonstrate Meaningful Use. Meaningful use is determined by beanchmarks in which Medicare or Medicaid will determine that you are using the EMR. The benchmarks include items such as provider entry of data, submission of lab requests through the EMR, electronic submission of prescriptions and reporting of quality measures. Once it is determined that you have met the minimums, then you should receive the payments. Please note, these benchmarks are established for Stage 1, and will be changing as the project keeps moving toward completion.

To conclude, choosing an EMR is based upon several factors, and should not be made in haste. Factors of costs, training, ease of use and fucntonality all need to be considered when making this investment. If you implement an EMR that fists the criteria as outlined in the HITECH act, the investment can be reduced via the programs listed above.

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