This article appears in the April, 2012 issue of The Doctor's Office.
For the most part, the first group of providers to qualify for Stage 1 of the meaningful use regulations in 2011—and deposit incentive checks in the bank—were early adopters of electronic health records such as Old Hook Medical Associates, LLC in Emerson, NJ, a multispecialty practice that implemented its EHR in 2007.
OHMA has one location and 20 providers, including full- and part-time positions and nurse practitioners. It began using a commercial EHR solution in 2007. "That was essentially our first real EHR," says Edward Gold, MD, president of OHMA, as well as an oncologist and hematologist. "We had been using a medical manager product and were using some of the EMR capabilities that it had, which were limited. But we really weren't fully electronic until 2007."
OHMA began its 90-day meaningful use attestation period on January 1, 2011. It submitted its data on April 19, 2011, qualified for everything it submitted, and received a $180,000 incentive payment in May 2011.
The practice submitted data for 10 physicians. OHMA has some part-time physicians who didn't qualify because they only work a couple of days per week and OHMA isn't their primary practice, Gold explained.
He offers the following advice to practices considering MU attestation:
1. Don't accept pushback.
Gold says OHMA made a corporate decision to switch from paper to EHRs and didn't accept opposition from its physicians. As such, the physicians didn't get to choose whether to use the technology.