RECs Won't Finish Mission Without More Funding
Others are truly the last luckless wagons on the trail, as they can witness daily by visiting HHS's Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL), only to see once again that the EHR vendor they chose is still not compliant with Stage 1 2014 Edition, or with Stage 2.
'A Waste of Resources'
In January, Sandefer told me 3,000 vendors had Stage 1-certified products, but fewer than 100 vendors had certified for Stage 2. I'm sure the Stage 2 numbers are up since then, but the gap could not possibly have been narrowed that much.
REACH recently got its no-cost extension on the REC funding, and will be able to help many in its area cross various finish lines in the next 11 months. Still, REACH's ability to offer one-on-one advisement to its clients is more constrained than in earlier years, as it simply gets to spend more of the money it originally got, without any additional funding, other than what it can scrape together by expanding into other paying services such as IT consulting to healthcare organizations.
Other RECs, such as in Kansas, have also been the recipients of no-cost extensions recently. But come February 2015, any REC monies left unspent— and the requirements for spending the money is closely monitored— will no longer be available for those providers still bringing up the rear of the wagon train. "I just find it a waste of resources," Gladd says.
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