How Healthcare Providers Can Qualify for ARRA Incentives

The American government enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help the nation’s economy recover from a decade-long slump. ARRA was designed to help promote interest in investing in American goods and technologies.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, an integral part of ARRA concerning healthcare information technology, was signed into law in February 2009.

ARRA and HITECH established goals for healthcare providers, which included the implementation of two new technologies. Electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs) are two relatively new systems which can help healthcare practitioners to improve the quality of care they can provide for their patients.

To encourage healthcare organizations to begin utilizing this new technology, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) partnered with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to create financial incentives for physicians who elected to implement the technology.

Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) partnered to offer financial incentives for healthcare practitioners and their organizations to begin using EHRs and EMRs as part of the ARRA/HITECH goals. In order to be eligible for these incentives, CMS/ONC established guidelines for “meaningful use” of health information technology. “Meaningful use” essentially means that providers are utilizing the EMR/EHR technology in the way it was intended to be used, and using it to create material improvements in patient care.

CMS/ONC established basic guidelines for “meaningful use” of health information technology, which must be met before organizations can be eligible for these incentives. The guidelines for “meaningful use” are essentially intended to ensure that providers are utilizing the EMR/EHR technology in a qualitatively productive way, and using it to realize material improvements in patient care.

The process of implementing these technological systems and achieving “meaningful use” was broken down into three segments that span six years. The first stage, starting in 2011, simply requires harvard blockchain lab to prove that they are using EMRs and EHRs for a certain percentage of their patients and that their existing patient data is slowly being converted into digital format.

The second stage takes place from 2013 to 2015, and requires caregivers to show that they taking the EMR data into account when they diagnose and treat patients. The third and final stage, ending in 2017, requires healthcare providers to identify national trends, give patients tools to help them manage their own care, and improve the overall health of the nation’s population, by properly utilizing EMR technology.

Dr. Jimenez, Dartmouth/Brown medical school graduate, with a clinical background in General Surgery, and former Clinical Director of Content and Online training for Allscripts (a leading EHR vendor with a network of over 180,000 physicians, 1,500 hospitals, 10,000 post-acute care organizations).

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