OK, before you start thinking this is too good to be true, please note that what I’m about to describe comes straight from the mouth of a lawyer writing for the American Bar Association.
In a recent item, attorney Abigail Wong Grigsby notes that while hospitals certainly have a chance to collect some nice Meaningful Use payments, they can do a lot better if they pick up their providers’ incentive payments too.
Apparently, through a process known as “EHR assignment,” hospitals may establsh contracts with doctors in which they hospital gets the MU incentive payment that doctor would have received.
It’s worth noting that no one can force providers to sign such agreements, and they may in fact refuse if they’re struggling with the EHR or has a bad relationship with the hospital generally.
Generally speaking, though, hospitals are able to strike such deals when they’ve already gone to the trouble of choosing, buying and installing a certified EHR — then shared it with community providers.
What’s sweet about this arrangement is that even if the hospital itself doesn’t qualify for MU incentives at present, it can still set up the EHR for providers then at least try to get assignment of provider incentives.
As you can imagine, there’s a wide variety of legal nuances involved in determining which hospitals can legally collect from which providers. (For example, you can’t get your provider’s benefits assigned to your hospital if you’re not conducting billing and collecting services for that provider, the article notes.)
Since I’m far from being a lawyer, I’m going to stop here and leave it to you to review this excellent, in-depth piece directly.
What I’d take away here, though, is that there may be more ways than you’d thought to subsidize that beastly expensive EHR. Don’t let the legalese turn you off; Ms. Grigsby’s advice is definitely worth a close look.