For health care practices who either have not adopted certified EHR / EMR systems or cannot demonstrate "meaningful use" by the EMR deadline in 2015, Medicare reimbursements will be reduced by 1%. The deduction rate increases in succeeding years by 2% in 2016, 3% in 2017, 4% in 2018, and up to 95% depending on future adjustments.
On the other hand, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, health care providers can receive up to $44,000 reimbursement incentive payments which started in 2011 for implementing EMR systems. Health care providers must be able to demonstrate "meaningful use." The "meaningful use" standard is measured in stages. Stage 1 started in 2011 and ended in 2012. It required that providers meet 14 to 15 core requirements and choose five more from a menu of 10 options. Some of these requirements include electronic file system for all patients' health records, medical billing system, and transcription services. Physicians will have until end of 2014 to meet Stage 2. Stage 3 has yet to be defined. Check out this "Meaningful Use" calculator to see how much time you have to comply. (http://cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/Participation-Timeline.html#.UmmWRRDjWJ4)
Benefits of "meaningful use"
Complete and accurate information. With electronic health records, providers have the information they need to provide the best possible care. Providers will know more about their patients and their health history before they walk into the examination room.
Better access to information. Electronic health records facilitate greater access to the information providers need to diagnose health problems earlier and improve the health outcomes of their patients. Electronic health records also allow information to be shared more easily among doctors' offices, hospitals, and across health systems, leading to better coordination of care.
Therefore, a good EMR/EHR Services Provider can work with you and your systems in order to meet the "meaningful use." A good EMR/EHR Services Provider will also guide you through the process in order for you to receive as much reimbursement money as possible so that you can focus on what you do best, provider quality health care services to your patients.