Updated OIG position puts new emphasis on EMR transition planning

Updated OIG position puts new emphasis on EMR transition planningJuly 21, 2014 by Vickie Anenberg

The United States Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General reversed its stance on allowing healthcare providers’ medical data to be stored in electronic health records and shared for the purpose of referring patients to one another. The OIG’s initial opinion in favor of this practice came in 2011 and was approved in order to simplify electronic data exchange. With the shift in opinion on electronic medical record (EMR) data exchange and the mandate for electronic records across every healthcare facility, several established healthcare centers are rushing to finalize their EMR transition planning.

Initial reasoning

The OIG’s previous stance was based on physicians purchasing a “Coordination Service Package,” which granted them a discount on their monthly EMR subscription fees for each referral. The opinion was based on the large EMR network and the intention to facilitate the exchange of patient information among providers with fees established at fair market value.

Change in opinion

The reasoning behind the OIG’s official change in opinion hangs on the programs lack of sufficiency and inability to lessen the risk of improper referrals to the federal healthcare programs. This was commonly seen in cases of expensive services like laboratory tests that were conducted in order to cash in on the large discount from the program.

EMR transition planning

As your facility plans to implement EMR data exchange, consider some of the areas where hiring an an experienced EMR transitional staff can increase efficiency and expedite the transition process:

Cross Country Staffing has a number of experienced healthcare professionals with extensive backgrounds using major EMR platforms like Epic and Cerner, and we can help you make the switch to EMR data exchange in no time.