The government is now looking to move the medical industry forward and ensure that health records are digitized. To help incentivize the use of EMR systems, medical industry regulators are now penalizing those who do not install a designated EMR system in their facilities. And so, in this latest post, we’ll take a look at the potential penalties medical facilities can face for not introducing an EMR system.

Potential Penalties

Physicians that have not integrated an EMR will see their Medicare reimbursements reduced by 3% in 2017, rising to 4% in 2018. The reduction can rise to whopping 95% depending on future adjustments in Medicare. This highlights the need for those who are still without an EMR system to consider the value that a system may bring to their organization, and begin the implementation process.

Meaningful Use a Factor

Another important factor to consider when reviewing the potential penalty for not implementing an EMR system effectively is meaningful use. Those who didn’t demonstrate the meaningful use of their EMR system beginning in 2015 experienced a 1% reduction in Medicare reimbursement payments. As mentioned, this reduction is now 3% in 2017, and so it’s critical for healthcare providers to have a clear understanding on how meaningful use is described in the EMR regulations.

As defined by HealthIT.gov, meaningful use involves using the EMR to:

  • Engage with patients and their family
  • Maintain the privacy and security of patient data
  • Improve care coordination
  • Improve service quality, efficiency, and safety.

Hardship Exceptions

While the government and regulators are applying the new EMR regulations strictly and enforcing all related provisions of the regulations, there are options for those finding it difficult to implement an EMR successfully. Some healthcare providers will be able to apply for hardship exceptions, which help protect against the reduction in Medicare reimbursements. Eligible providers may be able to apply for hardship exceptions if they can meet the following standards:

  • They are new professionals who don’t have the time to apply meaningful use in their current practice
  • There has been a natural disaster that has impacted their records
  • They don’t have face-to-face interaction with patients, or lack follow-up requirements
  • They don’t have control over the availability of CEHRT in their practice
  • They lack Internet access or the optimal IT infrastructure for EMR implementation

Questions to Consider

It’s important for all care providers to closely review their obligations under the latest EMR regulations. By considering the following questions, providers can ensure they mitigate heavy penalties and move forward on the path toward integration of EMR systems:

  • What are the challenges we face with EMR use?
  • What can we do to meet the meaningful use standard?
  • Is our facility ready for EMR implementation?

Our expert team can help you in mitigating the challenges of EMR use in your facility, and help your business avoid the penalties associated with not using EMRs. To learn more about your obligations and the latest EMR applications, call our team now at 800-333-1033 or info@raintreeinc.com.