Friday, October 21, 2011

Many Physicians Unaware of EMR Penalties in 2015

Electronic medical record research is finding that up to 35% of physicians are unaware that they will face financial penalties in 2015 if they fail to implement an EMR system. A survey of 500 physicians by the Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers showed that most physicians are well aware of the government financing they could qualify to receive upon implementing an EMR system at their practice, but many are unaware that those who fail to do so by 2015 are subject to significant penalties.

These penalties will come in the form of a reduction in Medicare benefits. Beginning in 2015, non-EMR users will face a 1% reduction in payments, which increases by one percent each year until 2019. Physicians who have no EMR system in 2019 will see a 5% penalty on their Medicare benefits. Medicaid payments will not be adjusted for noncompliant physicians.

Interestingly, the survey results show that 85% of physicians are well aware of the financial benefits they can receive for implementing EMR. Physicians who implement an EMR system and can demonstrate “meaningful use” (a series of requirements designed to demonstrate the use of an EMR with the intention of improving the healthcare system, improving communication between medical offices and providing better patient care) can qualify to receive tens of thousands of dollars per provider per practice to help cover the costs of EMR implementation.

Meaningful Use stage one is already under way, and physicians are beginning to receive their stimulus checks. Physicians looking to implement an EMR before 2015 and avoid penalties should consult an online resource with EMR reviews for more information and help from a consultant. Some organizations are beginning to provide consumers with more information on healthcare IT, such as the EMRapproved doctor directory.

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