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David Willcutts
www.ReadyConsultant.com
www.linkedin.com/in/davidwillcutts
Blog.ReadyConsultant.com
Ready Consultant, LLC

Author's Focus:
Healthcare regulatory changes in HIPAA, EHR, ARRA, ICD10, etc., as well as how to approach consulting projects from planning, engaging and managing.

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All Articles Listing
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Expect States to Take Control of Health Reform
By:SWilliams - - 07/09/2010

46 states face budget shortfalls. Can they afford health reform? Read More..


Health Reform, Is Your Company's Plan Grandfathered? Be careful.
By:ReadyConsultant - - 07/07/2010

Employers who offer health coverage have many new requirements to understand related to the recently passed Affordable Care Act. Most of the major changes do not become effective until January 1, 2014 particularly given the "grandfathered" status. However, maintaining this status may be more diffic... Read More..


What's Next for ONC's Agenda with EHR's, Certification and more?
By:DWillcutts - - 01/21/2010

Information Week's recent interview with ONC's Dr. David Blumenthal provided some interesting insights into what is next and who is out there to help providers realize these goals. Where are the meaningful use guidelines? What about the certification process and who will be certifying? And is there... Read More..


NHIN Re-thought? ONC's Dr. David Blumenthal is re-envisioning
By:DWillcutts - - 01/21/2010

The six year effort by the government to create a National Health Information Network through efforts such as RHIOs is getting a fresh look. Is there practicality coming out of Washington? Or is this another twist in the road to a far off dream? At first glance, having a focus on smaller providers'... Read More..


Page:   of 16 
  

$640 Million for Regional Extension Centers... What are they and How will they effect you?

DWillcutts - - 01/04/2010

$640 million will get you 70 centers each serving a minimum of 1,000 "priority primay-care providers" for the initial two year period. How this effects you? The anwer depends on what role you play in the EHR stimulus program. If you are a provider these RECs are intended to be an unbiased support center for your EHR selection and implementation. If you are an EHR vendor the RECs view of your product may determine your sales in this critical period. If you are a consultant these centers may become a source of leads. 


As ONC has stated, "The purpose of the Regional Centers is to furnish assistance, defined as education, outreach, and technical assistance, to help providers in their geographic service areas select, successfully implement and meaningfully use certified EHR technology to improve the quality and value of health care."  A December 4th presentation highlighted 9 areas they will focus on:

  • Education and outreach
  • National Learning Consortium
  • Local Workforce Support
  • Practice and Workflow Redesign
  • Functional Interoperability and Health Information Exchange
  • Vendor Selection & Group Purchasing
  • Privacy and Security Best Practices
  • Implementation and Project Management
  • Progress Towards Meaningful Use

This is a very large scope for organizations that would appear to have annual budgets of less than $10 million ($640 Million designated for 70 centers of 2 years would equal $4.57 million annually).  I will expand on this discussion in future posts as each area listed above is critical to the successful deployment of an EHR.  It is likely clear on this will effect the major participants in this effort.

  • Providers:  If you are a provider that has been concerned with the process and implications of EHR requirement, then this could be an invaluable resource to you.  You have some time to take advantage of the incentives and even more time prior to the penalties, but the effort requires time for a thoughtful implementation.
  • Vendors: Clearly the "Vendor Selection & Group Purchasing" bullet above should be jumping out at you.  How to get on this list and how your pricing will be effected will be critical.  ARRA / HITECH offers an unpecedented opportunity to EHR systems vendors and it appears the RECs involvement could play a pivitol role.
  • Consultants:  At first glance it appears that the RECs will be providing many of the services healthcare consultants offer to provider from EHR planning, workflow redesign, procurement assistance, implementation, etc..  However, the math would suggest that the RECs have very limited funds to cover such a large number of providers. If each centers has $4.5 million annually and must serve a minimum of 1,000 providers that is roughly $4,500 of resources per provider... at the minimum. How RECs will work with consultants to facilitate the needs of their providers is not clear yet.

January 21, 2010 is the date that the "first cycle" of REC awards will be announced.  The rush of activity surrounding the launch of these RECs will be critical to follow.

How do you see this effecting you?  What role do you have in EHR incentives?  Share your thoughts and comments below.  We will regularly add more articles on this topic.

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