Darrell Ledbetter, CPM, is practice manager for the two-physician Gastorf Family Clinic of Durant, OK. On January 4th, the clinic received a $42,500 EHR stimulus check for Meaningful Use of its EHR.
We are very elated to be among the first to be paid the EHR incentive. We worked closely with our Regional Extension Center (REC), the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality (OFMQ), to prepare for the Meaningful Use of our EHR.
The REC initially came to us and said that they were here to help us meet Meaningful Use and that they were at our disposal. Our HIT practice specialist, Crystal Plata from OFMQ, brought information to our clinic that specifically plotted out what we needed to meet the Meaningful Use criteria. It spelled out the core objectives, measures and threshold numerators, and denominator exclusions required for us to obtain Meaningful Use.
We are partnered with e-MDs as our electronic health record. The e-MDs Solution Series version 7.0 was CMS certified on November 12, 2010. After attending the
e-MDs User Conference in July 2010 and attending the classes at the conference on Meaningful Use, it was fairly clear that we needed to work hard to begin ensuring our clinic could facilitate meeting those requirements.
The staff at e-MDs is very knowledgeable and the support center is wonderful. The final rule on Meaningful Use was, of course, not final at that point, but e-MDs had staff that was very involved with establishing those criteria.
We wanted to be on the front lines of the Meaningful Use, so as soon as we found out that the new version of e-MDs Solution Series was certified, we contacted e-MDs to ask if we could be a beta clinic for pushing out the new version. As always, the staff of e-MDs was very accommodating. We received the new version the last week of December and were able to meet Meaningful Use by January 1.
We were contacted by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority in mid-December and were asked if we would mind being the first clinic to get paid with the EHR incentive. Carter Kimble, public information specialist with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, called and stated that our clinic’s name kept coming up as being on the cutting edge of meeting the Meaningful Use requirements through different agencies within the state.
So with that in mind, we really wanted to push forward and meet the requirements as quickly as possible. We wanted to assist the OHCA in getting the information out that there really was money out there for the program, and encourage other providers to participate. We really feel that this is a worthwhile program, and pushing forward with the Health Information Exchange will be very beneficial to providers nationwide.
As soon as the CMS registration opened on Monday, January 3, 2011, we submitted our registration online. We then completed our patient volume documentation, showing that the patient care volume was greater than 30% Medicaid recipients. With that information, we knew that we would meet the criteria for participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive program.
We then, with the assistance of the OHCA, completed our Registration and Attestation with the OHCA on Tuesday, January 4, 2011. Having documented and completed the requirements for upgrading to an EHR that had been certified to meet Meaningful Use, we were then presented with a check on Wednesday, January 5th. The actual funds will deposit directly through electronic funds transfer next early next week.
The initial investment in the EHR software was five years ago, which was $26,652. Each year we have licensing fees of close to $7,000.00. This does not include the computer equipment, hardware, etc. We have 12 computers with the software on them, either laptops or desktop workstations. We have ordered a new server to upgrade our system, which will cost $6,500, and periodically have to replace other workstation computers or laptops, add memory, etc.
So basically, this initial check will almost pay for the initial investment. If we continue to meet Meaningful Use, hopefully we will be eligible for the incentive payments for the next five years.