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EMR Settlement a Timely Warning to Physicians

Fraser Cobbe

Orange County Medical Society

Seminole County Medical Society

The recent announcement of the settlement between eClinicalWorks and the U.S. Government should serve as a timely warning to physicians that they need to dive deeper into their relationship with their electronic medical record (EMR) company. Medicare's Quality Payment Program has increased the pressure for EMR companies to deliver on behalf of their clients. While physicians have long bemoaned the perceived inefficiencies of EMR systems, now Medicare reimbursement is tied directly to how efficiently and accurately data is reported, the stakes have never been higher.

The time to act for physicians is now. Medicare has relaxed the implementation of the Quality Payment Program and provided an opportunity for physicians to have a low-stakes practice run on reporting in 2017. This presents a chance to implement processes within the practice and analyze how to maximize your Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) composite score before the program is fully implemented.

For physicians that end up in the MIPS payment track, which will be the vast majority, a significant component of achieving financial success will hinge on your reporting capabilities. Many physicians will have the option to utilize their EMR vendor to report these key measures on their behalf. But to avoid surprises, in-depth conversations with your EMR partner need to be taking place now so you can determine if your EMR will be the most advantageous vehicle for reporting. If not, then the practice needs to be looking for alternative methods of reporting.

Medicare's new payment program has drastically changed the relationship between physicians and EMR vendors. Now more than ever, the quality of your partnership is going to dictate your financial success.

Medicare has provided all of us a pre-season to get ready for the high-stakes regular season that looms. Pre-season is almost halfway over. What shape is your team in?

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