The Gastorf Family Clinic of Durant, Oklahoma became the first physician practice in the country to receive an EHR incentive payment last week. They received their initial payment of $21,250 on January 5th, only two days after registration began. I contacted the clinic to find out the exact process that they followed to receive their payment so quickly.
Practice Manager Darrell Ledbetter, CPM was kind enough to respond with detailed information on how they were able to receive their payment so quickly.
Steve – Did you do anything special in terms of timing with your application to get paid so quickly?
Darrell – We worked closely with our Regional Extension Center (REC), the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality (OFMQ) to prepare for the meaningful use of our EHR. The REC initially came to us and said that they were here to help us meet meaningful use and that they were at our disposal. Our HIT Practice Specialist, Crystal Plata, from OFMQ brought information to our clinic that specifically plotted out what we needed to meet the meaningful use criteria. It spelled out the core objectives, measures and threshold numerators and denominator exclusions required for us to obtain meaningful use.
Steve – When did you apply and were you surprised to receive your payment so quickly?
Darrell – As soon as the CMS registration opened on Monday, January 3, 2011, we submitted our registration online. We then completed our patient volume documentation, showing that the patient care volume was greater than 30% Medicaid recipients. With that information, we knew that we would meet the criteria for participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive program. We then, with the assistance of the OHCA, completed our Registration and Attestation with the OHCA on Tuesday, January 4, 2011. Having documented and completed the requirements for upgrading to an EHR that had been certified to meet Meaningful Use.
Steve – Did the payment actually come in the form of a check and if so have you received it yet?
Darrell – We were presented with a (ceremonial) check on Wednesday, January 5th. The actual funds will deposit directly through electronic funds transfer early this week.
Steve – What EMR/EHR System are you using in your clinic?
Darrell – We are partnered with e-MDs as our electronic health record. The e-MDs Solution Series version 7.0 was CMS certified on November 12, 2010. After attending the e-MDs User Conference in July, 2010, and attending the classes at the conference on meaningful use, it was fairly clear that we needed to work hard to begin ensuring our clinic could facilitate meeting those requirements. The staff at e-MDs is very knowledgeable and the support center is wonderful. The final rule on Meaningful Use was, of course, not final at that point, but e-MDs had staff that was very involved with establishing those criteria.
We wanted to be on the front lines of the Meaningful Use, so as soon as we found out that the new version of e-MDs Solution Series was certified, we contacted e-MDs to ask if we could be a beta clinic for pushing out the new version. As always, the staff of e-MDs was very accommodating. We received the new version the last week of December and were able to meet meaningful use by January 1.
Steve – Is there is anything else you think our readers would find interesting about your application process?
Darrell – We were contacted by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority in mid-December and were asked if we would mind being the first clinic to get paid with the EHR incentive. Carter Kimble, Public Information Specialist, with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, called and stated that our clinic’s name kept coming up as being on the cutting edge of meeting the Meaningful Use requirements, through different agencies within the state. So with that in mind, we really wanted to push forward and meet the requirements as quickly as possible. We wanted to assist the OHCA in getting the information out that there really was money out there for the program, and encourage other providers to participate. We really feel that this is a worthwhile program, and pushing forward with the Health Information Exchange will be very beneficial to providers nationwide.
Thanks to Darrell for being so forthcoming with the information and congratulations to the Gastorf Family Clinic for being the first physician practice in the country to receive the incentive payment.
- Melissa Gastorf, D.O., Gastorf Family Clinic
- Crystal Plata, Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality REC HIT Practice Specialist
- Mary Melott, OFMQ REC HIT Practice Specialist
- Front Center-Mike Fogarty, CEO Oklahoma Health Care Authority
- Rear Center-Jonathan Kolarik, OFMQ REC Director
- Garth Splinter, M.D., Oklahoma Health Care Authority State Medicaid Director
- Jeff Gastorf, D.O., Gastorf Family Clinic