Facts about EHR Electronic Health Records & Stimulus Plan HITECH Act

It’s nice to see the government and other vendors now validate patient documentation that Pulse Software has been allowing and recommending for your office since 1996 with the launch of ChiroPulse . It is no surprise that patient record keeping will one day be  certified, standardized & possibly mandated.

Unfortunately many vendors today are using fear, uncertainty & scare tactics on our fellow Chiropractors. As if doctors don’t face enough obstacles to patient care they now need to fend off bully tactics from unscrupulous software vendors. The vendors often leave out facts & specifics, for example that the HITECH stimulus relates only to Medicare/Medicaid and would begin perhaps in 2011 at the earliest, no time soon.

You’re reading the emails, promotion & print ads that sound so great you almost want to believe them. They read like the email from your “long lost relative who left you millions” that you can collect once you “send your bank account info, social security info & all of your personal data”, plus a “small $10,000 payment to cover legal fees to gain your inheritance”. Here is a sample …

“Stimulus Plan rewards over $40,000 to doctors using EMR software!”

“Start reaping the benefits of the Economic Stimulus Plan now!”

“Money Flying”

“Implement now once the $19.2 billion in stimulus dollars is paid out, there will be no more!”

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Facts about EMR Electronic Medical Records / EHR Electronic Health Records  

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed on February 17, 2009 (in Title XIII – click here) establishes a process for the development of standards to allow for nationwide electronic exchange of information between doctors, hospitals, patients, carriers, government offices, etc. to be set by the end of 2009.

The standards program will be conducted through the newly established Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology within the Department of Health and Human Services. This certification organization is NOT YET DEFINED (as of May 19, 2009) , however they are striving to formalize the standards & certification process by December 31, 2009.

Certification is said to focus on two main areas, with an obvious room for expansion on this young and ambitious program:

  1. Collection of Patient Documentation (History, Soaps, Careplan, Reports, Imaging, etc.)
  2. Patient Management & Referral (medical necessity, outcome, physician order/prescriptions, data capture & exchange with other healthcare providers/systems)

In other words, everything you can do in ChiroPulse365 today is what this upcoming certification committee will wrap up into a nice “certification program”.

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Hitech Act Stimulus Package Recap

  • Applies only to Medicare & Medicaid providers. Has nothing to do with any other insurance carriers.
  • As of May 18, 2009 there is no certification process available.
  • Any vendor claiming to be certified is spreading misinformation.
  • Goal of Nov/Dec 2009 is set for the certification process to be established.
  • Possible payout at the earliest date of 2011 for 5 years on diminishing scale for Medicare providers ($18,000 in year 1, $12,000 in year 2, $8,000 in year 3, $4000 in year4, $2000 in year 5) & possibly Medicaid providers (30% of revenue from Medicaid) who show “meaningful use” of Electronic Health Records
  • Possible Medicare fee schedule lowering in 2016 for healthcare providers not yet implementing EHR
  • Hitech Act Chilmark Research summary & possible reimbursement scheduleclick here

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How will ChiroPulse365 use Electronic Health Records & provide for the Stimulus Plan benefits?

ChiroPulse365 database engine runs on Microsoft SQL Server which has the best developer support in the industry. This allows us to take your data to other places as needed (assuming those places are agreed upon & standardized in such an ambitious manner).

ChiroPulse has offered “Electronic Health Records” since it’s debut in 1996. ChiroPulse featured NPI support months before it was mandated. Pulse Software will monitor the certification process so that  ChiroPulse can be submitted for certification once such standards are available.

You can see a decent EHR overview at wikipedia that is non-biased and without vendor spin or promotion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_health_record

If you are getting a hard-sell on EHR check your back pockets as a con-man is nearby.