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The Healthcare Penalties Are Coming!!

Posted on April 3, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We all know about the Meaningful Use penalties. The PQRS penalties. The Value Based Modifier penalties. Individually, they’d all be annoying, but I don’t think most healthcare organizations have understood what these penalties will be in aggregate.

This hit home to me when I was reading a smartly titled post by Jim Tate called “What you don’t do in 2015 will cause 9% CMS penalties in 2017” Here’s how he describes the penalties that are in store for healthcare:

MU: Failing to achieve MU in 2014 will bring a 2% penalty beginning in 2016 with a 1% annual increase up to 5%.

Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS): Non-participation brings a Medicare reimbursement reduction of 2.0% in 2016 based on 2014 data.

Value-Based Modifier(VBM): The VBM, which many providers are not aware of, is linked to PQRS. Beginning in 2016, eligible providers (EPs) in groups with 10 or more EPs will be subject to a penalty based on performance. In 2017, this will include all EPs, not just those in larger groups.

Taken together, this adds up to a 9% penalty in 2017 based on 2015 participation.
To avoid these penalties, immediately assess your current participation in the MU, PQRS, and VBM programs. If you are not on track you must take steps to mitigate your risk as soon as possible.

Risk mitigation is the right way to describe it. As I mentioned in the beginning, I don’t think that many providers are planning ahead to avoid these penalties. I also don’t think they realize the long term consequences of the choices they make today.

Thanks Jim for waking us up to the reality.

Scanning Is a Feature of Healthcare IT and Will Be Forever

Posted on October 11, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

When I first started writing about EMR and EHR, I regularly discussed the idea of a paperless office. What I didn’t realize at the time and what has become incredibly clear to me now is that paper will play a part in every office Forever (which I translate to my lifetime). While paper will still come into an office, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a paperless office when it comes to the storage and retrieval of those files. The simple answer to the paper is the scanner.

A great example of this point was discussed in this post by The Nerdy Nurse called “Network Scanning Makes Electronic Medical Records Work.” She provides an interesting discussion about the various scanning challenges from home health nurses to a network scanner used by multiple nurses in a hospital setting.

The good people at HITECH Answers also wrote about “Scanning and Your EHR Implementation.” Just yesterday I got an email from someone talking about how they should approach their old paper charts. It’s an important discussion that we’re still going to have for a while to come. I’m still intrigued by the Thinning Paper Charts approach to scanning, but if I could afford it I’d absolutely outsource the scanning to an outside company. They do amazing work really fast. They even offer services like clinical data abstraction so you can really enhance the value of your scanned charts.

However, even if you outsource your old paper charts, you’ll still need a heavy duty scanner for ongoing paper that enters your office. For example, I have the Canon DR-C125 sitting next to my desk and it’s a scanner that can handle the scanning load of healthcare. You’ll want a high speed scanner like this one for your scanning. Don’t try to lean on an All-in-One scanner-printer-copier. It seems like an inexpensive alternative, but the quality just isn’t the same and after a few months of heavy scanning you’ll have to buy a new All-in-One after you burn it out. Those are just made for one off scanning as opposed to the scanning you have to do in healthcare.

David Harlow also covers an interesting HIPAA angle when it comes to scanners. In many cases, scanners don’t store any PHI on the scanner. However, in some cases they do and so you’ll want to be aware of this so that the PHI stored on the device is cleaned before you dispose of it.

Certainly many organizations are overwhelmed by meaningful use, ICD-10, HIPAA Omnibus, and changing reimbursement. However, things like buying the right scanner make all the difference when it comes to the long term happiness of your users.

Sponsored by Canon U.S.A., Inc.  Canon’s extensive scanner product line enables businesses worldwide to capture, store and distribute information.

EHR Certification Results Published – Meaningful Use Monday

Posted on September 17, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We haven’t done many posts recently about EHR certification which is an integral part of getting to the Meaningful Use promised land. Although, when I read this post by EHR certification expert, Jim Tate, I thought it was worthy of pointing out and starting some discussion on the EHR certification requirements. Here’s a quote from the post that I found quite interesting:

Please allow me to report one final nuance to all this… A vendor can apply for 2011 Edition certification after 10/04/2012 but they will pay a price. They will be exposed to new ONC certification requirements: ”We also require that test results used for EHR technology certification be made publicly available” and “we require that ONC-ACBs ensure that EHR technology developers include in their marketing materials and communications notification to potential purchasers any additional types of costs that an EP, EH, or CAH would pay to implement their certified Complete EHR or certified EHR Module in order to attempt to meet MU objectives and measures”.

I find the idea that the ONC-ACBs have to publish the EHR certification test results quite interesting. What I’m not sure is whether this will really provide much value to those evaluating an EHR company. I know Jim Tate reads this blog and so hopefully he can chime in with any knowledge he has about the subject. Although, I wonder if the results that an ONC-ACB posts about an EHR will provide little value. Will the report essentially be a pass/fail report or will it provide more detailed information about what was found during the EHR certification process? Do we know what these reports will look like?

The later comment that requires an EHR company to disclose additional types of costs is quite intriguing. No doubt there are many EHR companies that have hid behind their hidden EHR costs in the past, so I love the requirement. I’m just not sure what enforcement mechanisms are available to ensure that EHR companies are following this requirement. Are their penalties for not doing this? Is there a reporting mechanism to report marketing that doesn’t follow this? As we all know, a rule without enforcement and penalties isn’t much of a rule at all.

New Media Meetup at MGMA 2011 #HITsm

Posted on October 7, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Following on the extremely successful New Media Meetups we’ve held at HIMSS, we decided to do a similar New Media Meetup at MGMA 2011. This time I decided to join up with the great people at HITECH Answers to put the meetup together. Plus, Free EHR vendor, Mitochon Systems, has graciously offered to sponsor the event along with providing the food and drinks.

In case, you’ve missed the previous New Media Meetups we’ve done, this is an event for anyone that participates in new media, is interested in new media, reads new media or just likes hanging out with a bunch of cool people. Yes, that pretty much means that everyone is welcome. Just don’t be surprised if you see people taking pictures and tweeting while at the event.

There’s no specific agenda for the event. Just great networking with interesting people. So, come enjoy some food, drinks and connect with interesting colleagues.

Here are the details for the event:
When: Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 5 – 7 pm
Where: Suite 2169 at Hilton Hotel (right next to Conv Ctr)
RSVP:
Fill out the form embedded below so we know how many to expect:

Or Complete this form to RSVP

About Mitochon Systems
Mitochon’s mEMR system is the first, free, fully certified EHR system. Mitochon uses a free, ad-supported model. Ads are displayed within the workflow of the application. The Mitochon mEMR system, designed by physicians for physicians, is intuitive and easy to install. Most customers are up and running in one day. Mitochon Systems was founded in 2006 by André Vovan, MD, MBA, FCCM, the director of a critical care department at a large California hospital. Information: 877-817-0902 or http://mitochonsystems.com/.

Event hosted by HITECH Answers and HealthcareScene.com

EMR and Meaningful Use Books

Posted on July 27, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I must admit that I’m not much of a book guy. Especially since there’s so much free information available on the internet about just about any subject you could want. However, I’ve been quite intrigued by the number of healthcare IT related books that I’ve seen coming out of late. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the ones I’ve seen.

Getting to Meaningful Use and Beyond: A Guide for IT Staff in Health Care by Fred Trotter and David Uhlman – I’ve been a big fan of Fred Trotter for a while. So, I’m glad he’s working on this book. Turns out the book isn’t even published, but in Fred Trotter open source style fashion, the book is available for free online right now. Of course, they’re hoping you’ll provide feedback.

The HITECH Act Made Easy: A Simple Guide to the Federal EHR Incentive Programs – I had this book sent to me. It’s a short book which I think is good. It tries to tackle not only the details of the Medicaid and Medicare stimulus program, but also has a number of sections on EHR selection and implementation as well. I love it’s question format where many of the chapters are a question and the chapter offers the answer.

Health Information Exchange Formation Guide: The Authoritative Guide for Planning and Forming an HIE in Your State, Region or Community – I haven’t really had a chance to dig into this book yet. It’s brought to you by HIMSS. It’s a pretty thick book which I think describes well the challenge that is forming an HIE. Without reading the book, I’m a little torn just by the subtitle of the book, “The Authoritative Guide for Planning and Forming an HIE in your State, Region or Community.” I guess it’s hard for me to imagine it being the “authoritative guide” when I think we’re still trying to figure out the right HIE business model. I don’t think we’ve found it yet. I guess I should read the book to find out.

Jim Tate’s EHR Incentive Roadmap – Ok, this is an e-Book, but I think it’s as good a value as any hard cover book. So, it’s worth mentioning. I wrote a whole post on Jim Tate’s EHR Incentive book before.

Any other books about EMR, Meaningful Use, and/or healthcare IT that are out that we should know about?

UPDATE: User EHR and Meaningful Use Recommendations from the comments below:
Electronic Health Records For Dummies – Recommended by Nate Osit

Electronic Health Records: Transforming Your Medical Practice, second edition – “This is a book from MGMA and was recommended to me by a coordinator from the REC (Ohio) that I have been shadowing.” – Mary Ellen Weber

Jim Tate’s EHR Incentive Roadmap Resource

Posted on June 29, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.


HITECH Answers has just released the 3rd edition of Jim Tate’s The Incentive Roadmap® The Meaningful Use of Certified Technology: Stage 1 A Manual for Medical Practices. Version 3.0 of the manual that has been helping practices, consultants and vendors across the country understand the step-by-step process of achieving meaningful use is now available. Written by Jim Tate, a nationally recognized expert on the CMS EHR Incentive Program, certified technology and Meaningful Use objectives,The Incentive Roadmap® looks at what steps are needed to get ready for meaningful use and is downloaded immediately upon purchase.

I consider Jim Tate one of the foremost experts on meaningful use and certified EHR. So, I was excited when he decided to publish a resource on the details of the EHR incentive program.

In The Incentive Roadmap®, Jim Tate covers all of the details that you need to know if you’re considering participation in the EHR incentive program.

The first section is actually incredibly valuable since it covers who is eligible for the EHR incentive money and also includes a comparison of the various EHR incentive programs. Plus, it walks a clinic through the process of determining which program it is eligible for. Certainly many people have already gone through this process, but for the rest of you this is a great resource that will guide you through the EHR incentive options.

The next section of the The Incentive Roadmap® covers the details of the meaningful use criteria. This is the section that I think most people will be interested in having now. Certainly many of these details can be found on the CMS website and we’ve covered a lot of them in our Meaningful Use Monday series. However, if you want to get all of the meaningful use details in one place without all the legalese that CMS loves to provide, then check out the The Incentive Roadmap®.

I also love a later section of the The Incentive Roadmap® where Jim Tate provides some practical strategy advice on how a clinic should approach meaningful use.

I know I’ll be keeping my copy of The Incentive Roadmap® close by as a reference. It’s a lot easier to go through than the HHS/CMS/ONC websites.

HITECH Answers EHR Satisfaction Survey

Posted on March 19, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The good people at HITECH Answers are conducting a survey to gage EHR customer satisfaction — 10 questions; takes 10 seconds. I think the questions they are asking are interesting and could provide some interesting results even if it’s not a real scientific survey.

So, if you’re a user of an EHR software, go and fill out the survey. If the results are valuable and interesting, I’ll be sure to share the results of the survey in a future post.