New York REC First to Help 1,000 Providers Meet Meaningful Use

As the federal health IT regional extension centers work furiously with providers across the country to implement health IT systems, the New York REC is leading the pack in fulfilling the ultimate mission of all RECs—helping providers to “meaningfully use” health IT and gain federal incentives.

The New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) Regional Extension Center has become the first in the nation to certify over 1,000 provider clients for the meaningful use EHR incentive program, according to a NYeC press release.

A total of 62 RECs were developed by Department of Health and Human Services to aid physician practices and rural and critical access hospitals in the selection, implementation, and best practice use of EHR systems and other health IT. The milestone for NYeC indicates that over 1,000 NYeC clients have successfully implemented health IT systems and met the quality measures established in the meaningful use EHR incentive program—which offers Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement payments to providers who use certified EHR systems to meet critical measures. Several measures center on providing patients with electronic copies of their medical records.

“It’s a great feeling to have helped so many providers achieve real results from using electronic medical records, which is what the term ‘Meaningful Use’ is all about,” said Paul Wilder, director of the NYeC REC, in a press release. “The business partnerships we’ve developed with the local organizations around the state, including many Regional Health Information Organizations, have been an important part of our success as a REC.

“New York State has made some pioneering investments in health IT and we’ve been able to build upon that.”

The accomplishment comes as the 62 regional extension centers work to become self-sustainable entities separate from federal funding that is set to expire in 2013.

The REC program was created with funding from the 2009 HITECH Act. As of April 2012, more than 140,000 healthcare providers had enrolled in REC programs nationwide, with more than 77,000 having installed an EHR, and nearly 11,500 providers demonstrating “meaningful use” of EHR technology as part of the government’s EHR Incentive Program, according to an Association of Regional Centers for Health Information Technology (ARCH-IT) press release.

The RECs recently organized into the national ARCH-IT association, which will advocate for the RECs with the intent of promoting activity in the health IT environment as well as creating enduring and sustainable REC organizations that “promote and facilitate the integration of operational efficiency, clinical efficacy and revenue maximizations in clinical practices through the adoption and use of health IT,” according the ARCH-IT press release.

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