Almost every clinician has heard about the Meaningful Use (MU) EHR incentive program, yet EHR adoption rates for all but the largest practices are hovering at just about 50%. When October 2012 rolls around, it will be the last time for about half of the nation’s healthcare providers to maximize their Medicare Meaningful Use incentive payment. The sad truth about the October Meaningful Use mini-deadline is that most providers would never procrastinate when dealing with an issue related to the welfare of their patients. In contrast, when it comes to their own financial well being, they sometimes can’t find a way to follow the sage advice of one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln who stated, “Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.”
In order for most practices to be ready to hit the ground running in October, they really should begin the EHR implementation process in August.
Below are some landmark dates for the remainder of the year, related to Meaningful Use, which providers who want to participate in the Medicare EHR incentive program should be aware of.
- August 2012 — Best time to choose and begin implementing an EHR for the 2012 Meaningful Use year
- End of Summer / Early Fall 2012 — The Final Rule for Stage 2 Meaningful Use is published
- October 2012 — The last month for any provider to begin using an EHR and obtain the maximum Meaningful Use incentive payment.
Providers who procrastinate and do not begin using an EHR at the start of October 2012 can begin to use an EHR program in 2013 for any three-month period between January and October of 2013. Those providers will be tossing several thousand dollars down the drain, since the maximum payment they can receive for the Medicare EHR program in 2013 is $15,000, contrasted with the $18,000 offered in 2012.
Mark Twain once facetiously stated, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” With regard to EHR adoption, following his advice literally is simply a financially unsound strategy. With EHR adoption penalties just around the corner in 2015, ignoring EHR adoption by sticking your head in the sand is as silly as Mark Twain’s quote (see our blog on EHR penalties).
MediTouch EHR® is a Web-based solution that is fast to implement and easy to understand. MediTouch® users can be up and running on our EHR in just days, and certainly by October 2012.
Our Advice — If the train is leaving the station, FAST TRACK with MediTouch EHR beginning in August, and maximize your $44,000 Medicare EHR Meaningful Use incentive payment.