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Will Proposed Extensions to EHR Incentive Plans Impact Your Practice?

From large hospitals to small practices, healthcare providers in the medical field have gradually been making the transition from paper to electronic records. With the possibility of losing financial incentives or receiving fines if they do not make the switch to digital within the allowed timeframe, many physicians are requesting an extension.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have taken these requests into consideration. Under a new proposed rule that the CMS issued at the end of last month, healthcare providers will have one extra year to use 2011 Edition software in their electronic health record system as part of the federal incentive program for health IT.

Under this new proposed rule, providers scheduled to jump to the program's Stage 2 criteria will have another year to stay at Stage 1. Representatives for the CMS also noted that the slow delivery, availability and implementation of the upgraded 2014 Edition software contributed to their decision to consider a delay.

“Through letters to CMS, public forums, listening sessions and public comment at CMS meetings, many provider associations have expressed concern that, although 2014 Edition (technology) may be available for adoption, there is a backlog of many months for the updated version to be installed and implemented so that providers can successfully attest for 2014,” the agencey’s rule writers stated.

“We also understand that the delay in availability may limit a provider's ability to fully implement 2014 Edition (technology) across the facility,” they added.

Even with the proposed extension, medical practitioners should not put off making the change to electronic medical records or electronic health records any longer than necessary. Along with the financial incentive, digital recordkeeping offers a multitude of benefits.

To learn more about the advantages of going digital, or to find out how your practice’s website can seamlessly link to an EMR or EHR patient portal, click here.

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