Electronic Health Records and the HITECH Act

The US Supreme Court has ruled and has left the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known simply as the Affordable Care Act, largely intact. That means that health care facilities will be required to comply with several provisions in the new law.

Contrary to misconceptions that some health care professionals have, the requirement for health care facilities to migrate from a mostly paper-based record keeping industry to one using secure, electronic health records (EHRs) was not part of the Affordable Care Act, but was actually part of the HITECT Act section of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 economic stimulus package. The Affordable Care Act merely pushes harder to force an industry-wide acceptance and migration to EHRs.

There are several goals behind the migration from paper to digital documents. With digital document storage, costs will be reduced, administrative efficiencies improved, and health care records more easily transferred and shared with physicians and hospitals that may need critical patient information in an emergency. The use of standardized, digital records should also help reduce medical errors and improve the overall quality of care.

Why All Health Care Providers Need to Move to Patient Information Storage Using Electronic Health Records

The laws contain both a carrot and a stick.

  1. The Carrot. The U.S. government is providing $19.2 billion in incentives over several years for early adopters under the HITECH Act section of the economic stimulus. The incentives are in the form of additional credits applied to Medicare payments. The Medicare incentives can total up to $44,500 over 5 years, with the largest incentive payments going to facilities that begin implementation early. In some situations, the total incentives cover the cost of migrating to an EHR system. In order to qualify for the incentives, a facility must show meaningful use of a certified electronic health records system. In other words, it is not a matter of simply purchasing a system; you must show that you are actively using it.
  2. The Stick. For those medical facilities and physicians that choose to not migrate to a certified EHR system, penalties in the form of reductions in Medicare payments are applied starting in 2015. Penalties start at 1% and can increase each year of non-compliance to as much as 5%.

Full Access Scanning and Storage Can Accelerate Your Migration to Electronic Health Records

If your health care facility is still using paper-based patient records, keep in mind that it can take 12 to 24 months to fully implement a certified EHR system, including employee training and conversion of all of your paper patient records to a digital format. We can pick up your paper records, index them, create EHR-compliant scanned copies, and return the digital copies to you for implementation in your EHR system. We can even store the paper copies in our secure warehouses, which frees up more space in your facility.

HIPAA, Red Flags, FACTA Compliant
Contact Full Access Scanning and Storage at 1.800.337.9160 to learn more about
our Electronic Health Records scanning and storage services.

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