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Montefiore Hosts EMR Learning Labs

Reimbursement Deadline Spurs Bronx Community Physicians to Adopt Electronic Medical Records 

New York City, NY (March 8, 2010) - To be eligible for reimbursements from the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) beginning as early as 2011, physicians in solo and group practice in the Bronx and Westchester must  have an electronic medical record (EMR) system up and running.  Many physicians have not adopted an EMR because of the large cost. 

To help the 975 voluntary physicians in the Bronx and Westchester who are affiliated with it, Montefiore Medical Center in mid-March will host a series of all-day electronic medical record (EMR) "learning labs," where individual physicians can make a hands-on comparison of four, pre-screened EMR software systems, whose representatives will be there to conduct one-on-one tutorials.  

"While the City of New York launched an initiative last year offering financial incentives for physicians in the city's underserved areas to adopt one company's EMR system, the Montefiore learning labs represent a major effort by a non-profit hospital system to help community physicians with this daunting task of selecting an EMR," said Stephen Rosenthal, president of CMO - The Care Management Company, a subsidiary of Montefiore. 

"Montefiore's inpatient facilities adopted EMRs a decade ago, but many voluntary physicians in our service area who admit patients to our hospitals still do not have an EMR system because of the expense," said Jack Wolf, VP and Chief Information Officer at Montefiore.  "The ARRA reimbursements will certainly help on the expense side, and our pre-screening efforts will help physicians select quality systems from vendors who have agreed to link with our hospital EMR.  That way, both the flow of data and quality of care from the physician's office to the hospital is as seamless as possible."

Each physician who attends the lab will receive a package of information that includes:  what the certification criteria are for an EMR system to be eligible for reimbursement (the so-called "meaningful use" criteria), an ARRA stimulus package guideline, EMR vendor pricing, information on New York City's $27-million initiative to help physicians adopt EMRs, and Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement calculators.   Physicians in New York and throughout the nation can be reimbursed by Medicaid up to $63,750 and by Medicare up to $44,000 for setting up an EMR system.  These payments can begin as soon as 2011.  If physicians do not adopt an EMR system by 2015, their fees will be adjusted downward for Medicare patients.

There are dozens of national vendors who now provide electronic software solutions for physicians and hospitals that combine clinical data, scheduling, registration, billing and collections.  To narrow these vendors to a manageable list, Montefiore formed an evaluation group of physicians, technical experts and business professionals who helped to choose the four vendors based on certain criteria, including potential interoperability with Montefiore's existing EMR software and a willingness to offer preferred rates for the software.  The vendors are: Allscripts, Doc-tor.com, Greenway Medical Technologies and Pulse Systems.  

The sessions are being held from March 15 -18 at various locations in the Bronx and Westchester. 

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