Niagara Family Medicine Associates, a primary care physician group with offices in Niagara Falls and Lewiston, and Dr. Ronald Clark, DO, of Family Medicine in Niagara Falls, are the first Niagara County physician practices to receive funding for the purchase and implementation of an electronic medical record system through a new program administered by HEALTHeLINK, Western New York's clinical information exchange. Funded by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Independent Health and Univera Healthcare, the program is designed to help Western New York physicians acquire and implement EMRs in order to enhance safety and improve clinical quality for their patients.
Niagara Family Medicine Associates received $50,000 and Clarke was awarded $10,000 in direct funding support for the purchase of their respective EMR systems. In addition to this funding, HEALTHeLINK is providing 100 hours of consulting services to each practice to help transform their processes and workflow in order to ensure a smooth transition from paper to electronic medical records. Effective use of an EMR system will help Niagara Family Medicine Associates and Dr. Clarke to qualify for available federal stimulus funds.
"Cost is the biggest hurdle for physicians to adopt electronic medical records and use them in a meaningful way, especially for smaller physician practices," said Daniel E. Porreca, executive director of HEALTHeLINK. "Our collaboration with the area's three major health insurers provides a significant opportunity to increase EMR adoption and provide health information technology that will improve the quality of care and reduce costs, which ultimately benefits the patient."
To be eligible for financial assistance from this primary care EMR adoption program, a physician practice must be located in Erie, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans or Wyoming counties and be a participating provider with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Independent Health or Univera Healthcare.
In addition to primary care providers, the program will support pediatricians and OB/GYN providers.
In order to qualify for federal stimulus dollars to reimburse the cost to adopt electronic medical records, physician practices need to start the process now or risk losing this money. Beginning in 2015, the federal government will penalize physician practices with cuts in Medicare reimbursement if they do not adopt EMRs.
For more information about HEALTHeLINK, visit www.wnyhealthelink.com.