Sill Unanswered EHR Stimulus and Meaningful Use Questions

Posted on September 16, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

NOTE: I had this post sitting ready to be posted back in July and never got around to it. I think it’s still pretty relevant even though we are a few months farther along. Some of the time frames might not be quite right now, but the sentiments are interesting.

DKBerry sent me a passionate email in reference to this Modern Healthcare article about the EHR subsidies unanswered questions and the possibility of EHR Stimulus money flowing in May 2011. While I don’t agree completely with DKBerry, I have to admit that it’s quite disturbing that an 800 page meaningful use final rule later and we still have lots of questions. The following is DKBerry’s reaction/summary of the article:

Trudel makes it sound like a doc could validate his meaningful use on 30 April (end of the first possible 90 day period for reimbursement) … and would get paid by CMS in May.  Wonder how long she has worked for CMS?

I especially like this line …

John Halamka, committee co-chairman, asked whether the reimbursements paid to office-based physicians would be counted by the Internal Revenue Service as taxable income. Trudel said that question was out of her purview.”

Of course its taxable income Dr. Halmaka!  It’s based on Medicare reimbursement payments … and that’s revenue.  Had the bozzos who set up this idiotic incentive program provided tax credits instead of partial reimbursements for meaningful use adoption of a certified EHR … then maybe they would have gotten more than 15 docs to sign up.

You will love the dialog between Judith Faulkner (Epic Systems) and Doug Fridsma (ONCHIT).

Faulkner asked whether he thought “we’re going to make” the Jan. 1, 2011, start date by having both these certification and testing organizations and vendors with tested products in place by then.

Fridsma made no promises.”

He said his hope is that having multiple testing and certifications organizations authorized will “eliminate some of the bottlenecks.” Still, he said, there will be “challenges” to get systems certified if providers “bundle” pieces of EHR systems together to achieve meaningful use, a common scenario at many hospitals.

We are working as hard as we can to meet those timelines and get the capability in place,” Fridsma said.

I appreciate that you are working as hard as you can … but that’s not good enough.  ONC has to get it done now.  Any date after 30 September and its costing hospitals money.  They are going to be still screwing around with this in January … 2 years after they put it out in ARRA.  If I were a doc I would just say screw it … I’m closing my panel to Medicare patients.  This isn’t worth the pain and effort.