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Q: Why is it important for providers to adopt Electronic Health Records (EHRs)?
A: By adopting EHRs, providers will have a tool to help improve quality of care and be able to easily share information with other health care professionals. Benefits include having complete and accurate health information available to the provider at the point of care, avoiding the unnecessary repetition of tests or procedures, reducing the possibility of adverse events by having the patient’s complete medical history, and increasing the efficiency of administrative tasks, allowing for more doctor-patient interaction.
Q: What does HITEC-LA stand for?
A: HITEC-LA stands for “Health Information Technology Extension Center for Los Angeles.” HITEC-LA is one of 60 federally designated regional extension centers (RECs) funded nationwide through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical (HITECH) Act. The REC program is designed to provide on-the-ground assistance to doctors and other providers in their respective regions to successfully adopt, implement, and achieve meaningful use of EHRs within two years. The federal government believes that funding RECs such as HITEC-LA is the best way to achieve meaningful use of EHRs in a short timeframe.
Q: What is the relationship between L.A. Care and HITEC-LA?
A: The federal government awarded L.A. Care Health Plan a grant to establish and operate the health information technology regional extension center for Los Angeles County. The result is HITEC-LA, a project designed to assist all Los Angeles County health care providers with the implementation and meaningful use of EHRs.
Q: What are the benefits of using HITEC-LA services?
A: HITEC-LA will help doctors in L.A. County adopt and use EHRs in a meaningful way. HITEC-LA services include:
- Education, outreach, and training
- Provider and practice HIT needs assessment
- EHR implementation and project management
- EHR vendor selection and group purchasing
- Practice & workflow redesign
- Achievement of meaningful use
- Ongoing technical assistance
Q: Who is eligible to use HITEC-LA services?
A: All providers in Los Angeles County are eligible for HITEC-LA services. The focus is on primary-care providers (physicians, and/or health care professionals with prescriptive privileges, such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners) who practice within the county. All providers must have a National Provider Identifier (NPI) in order to be eligible for participation in the HITEC-LA program.
Q: What is the benefit for providers in working with HITEC-LA?
A: Providers will benefit from customized services and HITEC-LA’s ability to negotiate group discount rates for EHR hardware and software. Information-sharing, education and training, and individual provider office assessment are also services that will be offered.
Q: When will HITEC-LA services be available?
A: We expect that services will begin in two to three months. The best way to stay informed is to join our mailing list by sending an e-mail to HITEC-LA@lacare.org. You can also check this website periodically for more details.
Q: Do providers have to be a part of the L.A. Care network to use HITEC-LA services?
A: No. Any provider in L.A. County can participate.
Q: Will providers receive an incentive for adopting EHRs?
A: Yes. The federal government will provide incentives to eligible providers who demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs. An incentive of up to 85% can be earned to offset the cost of purchasing EHR software and hardware, implementing EHR systems, and achieving and demonstrating meaningful use. There are two types of federal incentives: Medicare and Medicaid.
Q: Who is eligible for Medicare EHR incentives?
A: Eligible professionals (EPs) include doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, doctors of dental surgery or of dental medicine, doctors of podiatric medicine, doctors of optometry, and chiropractors. Providers can receive up to $44,000 in Medicare incentives. Click here for more information on Medicare EHR incentives.
Q: Who is eligible for Medicaid EHR incentives?
A: Eligible professionals include physicians, dentists, certified nurse mid-wives, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants practicing in a rural health clinic or Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that is led by a physician assistant. Providers can receive up to $63,750 in Medicaid incentives. Click here for more information on Medicaid EHR incentives.
Q: What is meaningful use (MU) and how is it measured?
A: Meaningful use is a measurement or set of standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria designated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Providers adopting EHRs must achieve meaningful use in order to receive federal incentives.
Q: What should I do if I already have an EHR system?
A: Please contact us immediately. You will still benefit from HITEC-LA programs and services. If you are eligible for federal incentives, we can help you meet criteria to achieve meaningful use. We will provide you with technical support, training and education, and assess your existing system to ensure that it meets meaningful use certification requirements.
Q: What should I do if I am currently in the market to purchase an EHR system?
A: Please contact us immediately. You will still benefit from HITEC-LA programs, services and group rates. Our program includes vendor selection services to help you select an EHR system that meets meaningful use certification standards. If there is an EHR vendor that you are considering, please send us the company’s information so that we can research their products, services, and negotiate potential group discount rates.
Q: What should I do if I am in the process of purchasing an EHR system and have already selected a vendor and signed a contract?
A: Please contact us immediately. You will still benefit from HITEC-LA programs and services. Our program is designed to support all stages of the purchasing and implementation process. If you are a provider that is eligible for federal incentives you will specifically benefit from our technical support and assessment your EHR system to ensure that it meets meaningful use certification requirements.
Q: Does HITEC-LA promote or recommend a specific EHR vendor?
A: At this time, we have not determined the specific EHR vendors with which we will be working. We plan to do a thorough review of eligible EHR vendors, using a transparent process, in the coming months. If you are an EHR vendor interested in providing services for HITEC-LA, please send an email to HITEC-LA@lacare.org
Q: Will HITEC-LA partner with other organizations?
A: Yes. HITEC-LA will contract with consultants, organizations and other stakeholders to assist with delivering services to providers. For more information on how to become a service partner, please email HITEC-LA@lacare.org
Q: Is there a way to stay informed on HITEC-LA news, updates, and next steps?
A: Yes. The best way is to join our mailing list by sending an e-mail to HITEC-LA@lacare.org. You can also check this web site periodically for up-to-date information.