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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – A new program targeted at enrolling specialists, enabling them to apply and receive benefits and incentive payments for achieving “meaningful use” federal standards for their electronic health records, has been launched by the Rhode Island Regional Extension Center, a service of the Rhode Island Quality Institute.
Under the program, providers in specialty practices can now enroll to qualify for as much as $39,000 over five years in incentives from Medicare and as much as $63,750 over six years in incentives from Medicaid, according to the Rhode Island Quality Institute. The goal of the federal incentives is to help make EHR adoption more affordable.
Previously, the incentives had been offered only to primary care providers.
To sweeten the deal, the Rhode Island Regional Extension Center is offering a discounted membership at $375 pre eligible provider, a reduction from the regular $2,500 price for these services.
The program reflects one of 22 deliverables set in a contract with the R.I. Department of Health, which calls from the Regional Extension Center to roll out services “to help 625 primary care providers and 75 specialists reach meaningful use to attempt to obtain federal EHR incentive funds.” Those numbers reflect a cumulative total of “728 primary care providers and 75 specialists,” according to the contract, which runs from July 1, 2012 until Jan. 31, 2014.
“These incentive payments recognize Rhode Island’s providers and hospitals for using EHR technology in ‘meaningful’ ways that lead to higher quality care, improved patient safety, and better communication between patients and physicians,” said Jennie Gordon, director of the Rhode Island Regional Extension Center Program Management at the Rhode Island Quality Institute. “While achieving meaningful use of EHRs can be a challenging endeavor, the Regional Extension Center meets providers where they are and uses our health IT expertise to help them realize their EHR goals.”