MeHI was designated as the Massachusetts State agency to serve as the single Regional Extension Center (REC) for the entire Commonwealth. The primary purpose of a REC is to support Priority Primary Care Providers (PPCP) in implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system and achieving Meaningful Use. A PPCP is defined as an MD, DO, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant or Certified Nurse Midwife, who practices in the following settings:
- Primary Care Providers in individual and small practices of 10 or less;
- Public and Critical Access Hospitals;
- FQHCs, Community Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics; or
- Other settings that serve uninsured, underinsured and medically underserved populations
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), which oversees the RECs in all states, extended the EHR Direct Assistance Program for healthcare providers in Massachusetts through April 7, 2016. Through this program, the REC at MeHI provided subsidized consulting services to assist providers in implementing EHRs and meeting the federal Meaningful Use standards. The subsidy greatly reduced the financial burden of hiring Meaningful Use consultants.
The availability of the program services was extended until April 7, 2016:
- The extension was automatically applied to the existing REC members.
- The capacity to accommodate additional Massachusetts PPCP to become new REC members was increased.
The REC at MeHI is pleased with what was accomplished in partnership with healthcare providers across the Commonwealth. The program helped to guide more than 2,000 providers to implement EHRs and reach Meaningful Use Stage 1. In the process, MeHI was awarded over $8 million in Federal grant funds to cover the cost of the consulting services for our REC members.
Massachusetts is a national leader in EHR adoption. More than 90 percent of hospitals and 70 percent of providers use EHR technology. With the REC extension, MeHI continued the shared mission of EHR adoption across the Commonwealth to improve patient care.