Should Working with RECs Be an EMR Stimulus Requirement?

Posted on July 2, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the 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 and 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 know that many of you don’t read all of the past comments made on this site. So, I’m sure many of you missed when DonB asked Bobby Gladd the following question:
Could you explain your statement at the end of the fifth concern: “I would have added another MU criterion: require working with the RECs as a condition of incentive money eligibility;”

Bobby, from this REC blog, offered the following well thought out answer:

HHS is spending nearly a billion dollars on us RECs, yet we then have to go out and “recruit” providers, doing months of cold-call sales?

That just opens the government up to right-wing charges that Obama is simply blindly throwing money around at cross-purposes.

Many vendors and VARs see us as “competition,” which, in my view, is why we’re seeing some of the RECs doing “preferred EHR vendor” deals — basically trying to ensure that they don’t get cut out of the picture. Were I a viable vendor in a REC state that had excluded me, I might want to consider suing. It reeks of potential conflict-of-interest. Moreover, what about the true interest of the clinician? (Which is why we are officially and assiduously “vendor neutral.”)

Why should a practice work with us? Because we have broad and deep expertise available, soup-to-nuts, at a pittance of the cost of private commercial consultants.

It just begs the question of why RECs are even necessary. Maybe we’re not. Maybe docs can go it alone, or pay commercial consulting rates (that would eat up all their incentive money and then some). However, having decided that RECs are a value-adding thing, I fail to see the wisdom in making us optional.

Many of the RECs are going to fail. They won’t even get to demo their implementation/adoption support chops, they will fail because of the recruiting resistance, and will have burned through most of their initial HHS funding, and will have to start laying people off (I won’t be allowing mold to accrue on my CV).

To date, the leading REC in terms of recruitment is Qualis. Halfway through the expected recruitment period, they are at 9.2% of goal, notwithstanding a Code Red All-Hands-On-Deck recruitment effort.