When the medical practice of Howard Axe, MD, found itself in need of a new electronic prescribing system two years ago, implementing a full electronic health record system with an e-prescribing component was never seriously considered.
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WASHINGTON – There are no set appropriations for how much the federal government can spend on rewarding providers who adopt and use electronic health records under the Medicare and Medicaid meaningful use EHRincentive program, according to National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD.
WASHINGTON – Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record payments are approaching $7 billion since the program's beginning, with $6.9 billion paid out to 143,800 physicians and hospitals in total program estimates through the end of August.
Even though the new regime for testing and certifying electronic health-record systems under the federal EHR incentive program won't take effect until October—and testing against newly released criteria might not begin until year's end—federal authorities have given five organizations the OK to certify software for that program.
HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has authorized the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, the Drummond Group, ICSA Labs, InfoGard Laboratories and Orion Register to serve as certification bodies under the EHR incentive payment program, according to ONC spokesman Peter Ashkenaz. The program was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
C. Sue Reber, spokeswoman for one of the five, the Chicago-based CCHIT, said the news came in a conference call with the ONC on Tuesday.
In July, all five organizations were accredited by the American National Standards Institute as certification bodies and by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program as accredited testing laboratories for EHR systems.
Now more than ever, providers are exploring whether the Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement program is best to receive their EHR incentive payments. For many, both are an option, and according to Stephen Martinez, CEO at MTS Healthcare, it's imperative to understand the ins-and-outs of each in order to make an educated decision.
According to one recent report, the future looks unsteady for small primary care practices with 10 doctors or fewer. In fact, more than a quarter of those surveyed could foresee themselves closing up shop within the next year, according to the survey from MDLinx.