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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

HHS, AHIMA and North Shore Medical Labs, Inc., Announce Partnership to Provide Health IT Training and Electronic Health Records.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Minority Health, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), and North Shore Medical Labs, Inc., of Williston Park, NY, today announced a demonstration project to foster broader adoption and use of electronic health records (EHRs) and support national efforts to reduce health disparities affecting minorities.

AHIMA will provide free health IT training to providers and staff in underserved communities, and North Shore will donate electronic health record (EHR) software and services through Nortec Software, Inc. The demonstration program will assist physicians in small practices in Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina.

"The Office of Minority Health is pleased to support another innovative and timely health IT project in the growing portfolio of important work on health disparities,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health Garth N. Graham, MD. "We congratulate both AHIMA and North Shore Medical Labs for creating and coordinating this effort, and hope this initiative will stimulate more efforts to extend the use of EHRs in smaller practices and underserved communities that face special challenges in acquiring and implementing this technology."

AHIMA will provide six hours of web-based training on health IT to providers who work in underserved communities. Approximately 100 providers who complete the training will receive EHR licenses, including subscription fees, for 12 months. Nortec will help integrate the necessary information technology components within participating physician practices.

AHIMA values participating in public private partnerships, particularly when, as in this case, we join public and private enterprise to apply the fundamentals of health information management in a targeted and specific way to tackle a significant public health disparity,” said Bonnie Cassidy, MPA, RHIA, president of AHIMA. “This is meaningful work that will provide a tangible public good of improving access in these communities to quality healthcare data and contributing to better patient outcomes.”

Data from the 2005-2006 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medicare Care Survey show that EHR adoption is lower among providers serving uninsured, non-Hispanic black patients than among providers serving privately insured, non-Hispanic white patients, and among providers serving Hispanic patients who are uninsured or rely on Medicaid.

North Shore Medical Labs, Inc. will donate approximately 75 percent of the cost of the Nortec EHR licenses, program integration, monthly subscription fees, as well as discounted education and training. Since 2006, an exception to the Federal Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute has permitted the donation of certain EHR arrangements but requires recipients to pay a small proportion of donor costs.

North Shore is honored to participate in this meaningful program and collaborate with HHS, AHIMA and Nortec Software to donate this much needed technology to practitioners in underserved communities,” said Abid Sheikh, CEO of North Shore Medical Labs, Inc. “Nortec EHR technology affords the practitioner an integrated EHR solution, coupled with Patient Portal which allows patients to access their medical records to improve patient care, enhance practice performance, and increase treatment efficiency.

Provider recruitment efforts will be conducted by the Mississippi Institute for Improvement of Geographic Minority Health, which focuses on key indicators of health status in Mississippi and targets mechanisms to increase the knowledge surrounding these conditions along with strategies to improve them, and the North Carolina Health Information Management Association (NCHIMA), which works to advance professional practice and standards for effective management and security of health information across the continuum of care.

A health care provider who wishes to participate in this initiative must:

  • Practice in a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or Health Provider Shortage Area (HPSA) designated by HHS;
  • Have an Internet connection and use an electronic billing system;
  • Be a small practice group of one to five providers or a Federally Qualified Health Center within the MUA and/or PSA.
  • Be eligible to receive "meaningful use" incentives, as defined by the HITECH Act; and
  • Complete an initial application and submit monthly reports.

AHIMA and North Shore responded to an October 2010 invitation from the department to the vendor community to work with HHS to help reduce health information technology disparities.

For more information regarding this initiative and how providers can participate, please contact Dr. Bill Rudman at Bill.Rudman@ahima.org or Dr. Abid Sheikh at asheikh@nsmlonline.com

Medicare EHR Incentive Payments to Be Issued

A message from our HHS partner

The First Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Payments Will be Issued This Week

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is pleased to announce that incentive payments for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program will be sent out this week! Providers who have successfully attested to having met meaningful use, and who have met all the other program requirements, can expect to receive their 2011 incentive payments soon.

What Kind of Payment Can I Expect?

Eligible Professionals (EPs) participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program receive a payment based on 75 percent of their total Medicare allowed charges submitted no later than two months after the end of the 2011 calendar year. The maximum allowed charges used for a 2011 incentive payment is $24,000. This means that the maximum incentive payment an EP can receive for the first participation year is $18,000.

Please note that incentive payments will not be made to an EP until the EP meets the $24,000 threshold in allowed Medicare charges.

Incentive payments to eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals are based on a number of factors, beginning with a $2 million base payment.

How are Payments Made?

Participants will receive their Medicare EHR Incentive Program payment the same way they receive payments for Medicare services, via electronic funds transfer or by paper check. Payments to Medicare providers will be made to the taxpayer identification number (TIN) selected during registration for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. For electronic transfers, CMS will deposit incentive payments in the first bank account on file and it will appear on the bank statement as "EHR Incentive Payment."


Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), carriers, and fiscal intermediaries will not be making these payments. CMS is working with a Payment File Development Contractor to make these payments. Please do not contact your MAC regarding EHR incentive payments.

Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Payments

Since January 2011, several states that started their Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs have made payments to many EPs and eligible hospitals who have met the requirements for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. To date, over $83 million in Medicaid incentive payments have been issued to EPs and eligible hospitals participating in the EHR Incentive Program.

To view a checklist of how to participate in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, look at the Path to Payment section of the EHR website.

Want More Information About the EHR Incentive Programs?

Make sure to visit the CMS EHR Incentive Programs website for the latest news and updates on the EHR Incentive Programs.

Sixty-two Regional Extension Centers (RECs) across the nation are prepared to offer customized, on-the-ground assistance for eligible professionals and hospitals registering for the CMS EHR Incentive Programs.To locate an REC near you, visit http://www.healthit.gov/rec.

October 01, 2010
Nortec EHR v7.0 receives ONC-ATCB certification as a complete EHR.

September 29, 2010
eHealth Connecticut is organizing a summit on September 29, 2010 where Nortec is showcasing it's CCHIT 2011 Certified "Nortec EHR v7.0" Electronic Health Record System. eHealth Connecticut is expecting a large number of physcians and related professionals to attend this summit.

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May 16, 2010
Preliminary ARRA IFR Stage 1 Certified*.

May 15, 2010
Nortec EHR Version 7.0 is CCHIT certified.

May 15, 2010
5 Stars usability rating.

September 18, 2009
Nortec CEO Ajmal Sheikh featured in The Wall Street Journal.

April 27, 2009
HIMMS publishes its definitions of "Meaningful Use".

February 17, 2009
President Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

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