Category Archives: Meaningful Use

Protect Your Patients and Your Clinic with Centricity™ Practice Solution

A clinic’s EMR is like its circulatory system—damage it in any way and everyone in the clinic, including your patients, suffers the consequences. Alarmingly, there are thousands of clinics running faulty EMR software today.

You might have heard that the executives at eClinicalWorks agreed to pay $155 million in fines—rather than face trial—in order to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice?

The lawsuit claims that the company willfully “caused the submission of false claims for federal incentive programs,” among other serious violations.

At a time like this, it’s only natural to ask:

  • Can you trust that your patient data is accurate?
  • Is patient safety in question?
  • Is my EMR vendor a partner or a potential liability?
  • Can the clinic successfully attest?
  • Will your technology partner be around tomorrow?

To complicate matters, some eClinicalWorks customers are now complaining that the company is not supplying the clinic’s patient data when asked to do so. “We’ve been held hostage for a year and a half. I battled them,” said Laura Williams, practice administrator at North Spokane Women’s Health in Washington. “It’s a nightmare with them.”

“The IT people at eClinicalWorks never were able to fix the program errors, but our IT guy came up with a solution that at least has us able to access our patient records,” Williams said. “If I can get my patient data migrated to Centricity that will be enough.”

If you’re currently finding workarounds for your EMR, it’s time for a new EMR. Put eClinicalWorks behind you. We’re here to help steady your clinic’s healthcare IT infrastructure today, earn your trust, and support your clinic for years to come.

Schedule a Centricity demo today. It’s the first critical step on the path to clinical and financial well being.

Previously on the HealthCo Blog: Clinics Trust GE Healthcare for Good Reason

Clinics Trust GE Healthcare for Good Reason

Trust between physician and patient is sacred. Trust between clinic and EHR provider is as well. That’s why news that top executives at EHR software provider, eClinicalWorks, willfully manipulated their software to achieve federal certification has rightfully sent shockwaves across the industry.

Clinic admins and physicians are now all asking the tough questions:

  • Are quality incentive payments at risk for my clinic?
  • Has my EHR vendor done something similar?
  • Should I consider moving to another platform?

Let’s admit that we sometimes compete with eClinicalWorks. Let’s also admit that we’re nothing like them. HealthCo is a value-added reseller for GE Healthcare’s Centricity Practice Solution. GE Healthcare is not a startup, nor the kind of firm that risks its reputation. GE Healthcare is a multi-billion dollar division of GE and a globally respected brand with way too much to lose to play fast and loose with the truth or federal regulation.

The False Claims Act lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice alleges that eClinicalWorks hardcoded drug codes into its EHR software to comply with certification testing; did not adequately manage imaging orders or drug interactions; and failed to meet data portability requirements. In addition to a $155 million fine, the company has entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA).

Making matters worse, the company also settled a case that stated eClinicalWorks paid customers in exchange for recommendations of its software to potential customers, a violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.

“Electronic health records have the potential to improve the care provided to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, but only if the information is accurate and accessible,” said Special Agent in Charge Phillip Coyne of HHS-OIG. “Those who engage in fraud that undermines the goals of EHR or put patients at risk can expect a thorough investigation and strong remedial measures such as those in the novel and innovative Corporate Integrity Agreement in this case.”

The CIA requires eClinicalWorks to give customers the option to transfer their data to another EHR software provider without penalties or service charges. While current eClinicalWorks customers don’t necessarily need an added incentive to make the move, this savings is helpful to take the first step.

When trust is violated in this manner, it can cast a shadow on the entire industry. We welcome any and all questions that you might have about the case, and how the overall quality and safety of your clinic’s medical records are assured through HealthCo’s hands-on consulting and GE Healthcare’s superior technology and corporate integrity.

How To Meet the Needs of CMS’ New Quality Payment Program

If your clinic participates in Medicare Part B, you are part of the dedicated team of clinicians who serve more than 55 million of the country’s most vulnerable Americans.

The new Quality Payment Program (QPP) from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (first announced as “MACRA” in January 2015) provides new tools and resources to help you give your patients the best possible care. The Quality Payment Program achieves the following:

  • Repeals the Sustainable Growth (SGR) Formula
  • Streamlines multiple quality reporting programs into the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)
  • Provides incentive payments for participation in Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs)

What does this mean for your practice? It means adopting new policies and practices to help you monitor and care for patients at a group level. Like any change, QPP requires both business and clinical leadership to state the goals and achieve them.

Don’t let this new program sneak up and surprise you. In these first weeks of 2017, HealthCo team members have been speaking with our partners in clinics that are now starting to see their first penalties associated with abstaining from Meaningful Use programs, and some are shocked at the adjustments. Thankfully, the HealthCo team is ready to answer your questions and help you adjust workflows, as needed. There are also great resources to help you navigate QPP, including this New White Paper from GE Healthcare.

5-Answers-To-Your-Most-Important-MACRA-Questions-White-Paper-01192017-JB4608845_pdf

In lieu of a future deep dive into the topic, we have a few quick tips to get you started:

  • Determine which providers are eligible: Research the rules to make certain you understand which of your providers meet the criteria to participate in QPP.
  • Assess how quickly you want to move: CMS has given you several options for participation from submitting nothing to submitting partial or full-year data.
  • Assess group or individual participation: When reporting as a group there are additional methods for reporting on Quality and Advancing Care measures, so make sure you are clear on your clinic’s reporting status.

Wading through white papers on legislative changes can be time-consuming and dense reading. Remember, we are just a phone call away. Our team of rock star trainers can walk you through the all the various QPP steps and get you heading in the right direction.

CMS Looks For New Ways To Incentivize Wise Use of Electronic Health Records

Is Meaningful Use is on the ropes and about to go down for the count?

Speaking in San Francisco on Monday, Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, gave a glimmer of hope to those who refer to the EHR incentive program as “meaningless use.” The CMS administrator said the agency was in the process of ending meaningful use as we know it, and replacing it with something better.

What Do We Mean By “Meaningful Use” Anyway?Robert Lowes sums it up nicely:

Launched in 2011, the EHR incentive program uses bonuses and penalties to encourage physicians to use the technology in “meaningful” ways, such as prescribing electronically, implementing drug-allergy alerts, and communicating with patients online. The ultimate goal is to improve care and lower costs. However, medical societies have protested that increasingly rigorous program requirements are oppressive, turning physicians into bureaucratic box-checkers, and clinically irrelevant in many cases.

Vendors are too busy chasing meaningful use standards to improve their products, and providers are fed up, said Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Overall, I’m convinced that meaningful use has done more to stifle EHR innovation and adoption,” she said.

So what comes next? Is there a clue in Slavitt’s speech? He said, “We are committed to building a program that is flexible and adapts around the goals of a provider’s individual practice and patient population. We will start small and leave a lot of tool building opportunities to the private sector.”

Patient-centered care requires patient-centered data which can be readily entered and called up by physicians at the point of care. From our end, we know clinics need to run EMR software that eliminates waste and helps create productive workflows. We are dedicated to delivering these desired outcomes to our partner clinics, and whatever CMS comes up with next, HealthCo will be there with robust solutions.

Are You Playing The Meaningful Use Waiting Game?

Hurry up and wait. That’s the message to tens of thousands of physicians around the country, thanks to federal level indecisiveness when it comes to proposed rules changes for Meaningful Use Stage 3.

Many doctors and clinic administrators are already feeling overwhelmed with reporting requirements of Stage 2, and now the added uncertainty around Stage 3 is salt in the industry’s open wounds. Plus, Stage 3 of the EHR Incentive Programs drastically increases expectations for the healthcare industry, particularly around health data interoperability, advanced EHR use, and population health management, according to HealthITAnalytics.com.

To help address the growing problem and current uncertainty, U.S. Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC), a nurse by profession, introduced the Further Flexibility in HIT Reporting and Advancing Interoperability Act, otherwise known as the Flex-IT 2 Act. The bill has 37 co-sponsors in the House. The proposed legislation may be met favorably, as lawmakers consider the declining numbers that indicate the nature of the struggle to comply.

According to ModernHealthCare.com, the number of physicians and other eligible professionals in ambulatory care who attested to having met the requirements of the multibillion-dollar federal program dropped by 12% last year compared with 2013 numbers. The industry trade journal also notes that the relatively high percentage of providers—62%—still stuck on Stage 1 in the fourth full year of the program bears out the wisdom of the CMS’ Stage 2 compliance extension.

As the CEO of HealthCo Information Systems, I have an outsider’s “inside look” at how clinics are managing Meaningful Use attestation. The clinics with the most success understand that there’s little point in delaying the adoption of new EHR procedures. The legislative push from the industry (noted above) is meant to slow down the pace of change being driven by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The point is there’s no going back, EHR is here to stay and for good reason. A more seamless flow of patient information within the digital healthcare infrastructure is a game changer for patients and for the physicians providing care in today’s data-rich, instant-access environments.

If you’re clinic is struggling to adopt Meaningful Use in Stage 1, 2, or 3, HealthCo can help. By adopting GE Healthcare’s Centricity Practice Solution, you’ll be well ahead of the curve. With an informed installation and ongoing customer care from the HealthCo team, your clinic can meet changing federal mandates, secure incentive payments without delay and improve patient care via enhanced data workflows. Let me know how we can help.