Do You Have to Have an EHR before January 1st, 2015!?
by Leigh-Ann Renz & Lisette Wright, 12.30.14
Is there an EHR mandate? Does it apply to mental / behavioral health and substance abuse?
We’ve been getting that question a lot lately, and the bottom line is NO: no one can force you adopt electronic health records, although there are plenty of reasons to do so.
There is a penalty that depends on your organization: do you have an MD, DO, or NP that prescribes medications at your practice? If so, and if they have not already committed their Meaningful Use incentive funds to another practice, then your Medicare reimbursements may start getting docked in 2015 – if you’re not on a Meaningful Use (MU) certified electronic software. (There are no penalties for Medicaid reimbursements).
If you don’t have one of those designations prescribing meds for your organization, then your practice doesn’t qualify for the MU grant program and, because you don’t employ an Eligible Professional (EP), you’re not subject to those Medicare penalties. Click here for details – and if you’d like to see positive reasons to secure an EHR (not scare tactics), check out How Can Behavioral Health EHR Help You?
It seems like the MU EHR mandate, part of the ARRA HITECH Act, created some confusion about that is necessary when – and started a rumor that practices must have an EHR by 1/1/15. That being said, there are laws in some states, such as MN, for “all healthcare providers” to be on an EHR by a particular date in 2015. (This includes solo practitioners and small practices!)
In MN, there is no repercussion for non-compliance, and the word on the street is that many practices are simply refusing. Other states may leverage penalties: to be safe, you should confirm your state EHR laws.
Looking toward the future: SAMSHA has a new strategic plan for 2015-2019, which includes the goal of getting every behavioral health and substance abuse provider on an EHR by 2019. The Meaningful Use grant program will continue, unless Congress stops it, which means those Medicare penalties will as well – and as mentioned, state mandates are also subject to change each year! We look forward to continue being a resource for your EHR journey.
Lisette Wright presents nationally on the ICD-10/DSM-5, systems readiness and provides project management oversight to organizations during this transition. PIMSY EHR is very grateful to have her on our Advisory Board.