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ONC-Certified Electronic Health Records and Expanding Pharmacy Practice

In preparation for Medicare provider status, implementing a certified EHR for clinical visit documentation can equip your pharmacy to accept reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial payers.

Pharmacists have held a longstanding, unique position within the healthcare continuum. Their practice setting has enabled strong connections with the communities they serve, resulting in positive impact on patient outcomes. Leveraging this relationship along with vigorous clinical training has allowed pharmacists to increase their scope of practice throughout the United States. Services reach well beyond medication dispensing including vaccination administration, point of care testing, prescriptive authority, and state-level provider status, among others. One notable hindrance is pharmacists’ exclusion as Medicare-recognized providers. However, this may be remedied with current support for Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act, H.R. 2759/S.1362 and its inclusion of pharmacists as providers. 

Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)
Located within the Office of the Secretary for the department of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ONC is the principal federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology. 

With the field of pharmacy on the precipice of engaging a whole new sector of the population, there is increased attention around access to a complete Electronic Health Record (EHR) for pharmacist-performed patient assessment and evaluation documentation. While still undetermined, eventual inclusion of pharmacists in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) Quality Payment Program would signal a compelling case for use of an ONC-certified EHR. In addition to The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) outcomes reporting, ONC certification inherently drives improved usability and interoperability of EHR technology across hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, small practices, and community pharmacies by:

  • Maximizing reimbursement potential by meeting interoperability, reporting and other condition-based requirements
  • Providing clinicians straightforward and secure access to their patients’ records from outside organizations
  • Preparation of reporting for payor audits
  • Ensuring patients have access to their complete personal health information in an efficient and confidential manner
  • Offering electronic prescribing
  • Automation of data transmission to immunization registries (1-2)

“Choosing an EHR technology that has received certification under the ONC Health IT Certification Program provides you with assurances that your preferred EHR meets the technological capability, functionality, and security standards adopted by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services”


The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (3)

Don’t Start with a Disadvantage

To elevate their role further as an integral part of the care team, provide continuity of care, and receive reimbursement at full Medicare potential when federal provider status is achieved, it is likely that pharmacists will need to utilize certified health record technology. MIPS program participation has expanded every year since its inception leading to increased speculation by compliance experts regarding an eventual mandate. This could make choosing a non-certified EHR a short-sighted decision. AssureCare’s solutions position pharmacists to be prepared for any reporting and regulatory needs from day one by providing an ONC-certified EHR for clinical documentation and billing. Because all ONC-certified software is third-party tested, pharmacists can have confidence that AssureCare’s EHR platform meets rigorous and ongoing standards for confidentiality, interoperability, and security (3).


AssureCare is hosting a Webinar | Medical Billing for Community Pharmacies: Preparing Pharmacies for Tomorrow, Today. Join us June 16, 2021 at 2:00 PM EST to learn more about our innovative pharmacy solutions and be a part of the discussion on the changing pharmacy landscape. Register today.


Interested in learning more about how AssureCare’s ONC certified Electronic Health Record can help your pharmacy start the journey towards reimbursement for medical services?

References:

  1. Electronic Health Records – Health IT Playbook
  2. Programs Referencing ONC Certified Health IT | HealthIT.gov
  3. EHR Contracts Untangled: Selecting Wisely, Negotiating Terms, and Understanding the Fine Print (healthit.gov)
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AssureCare® is a leading provider of integrated population care management software for healthcare and human services organizations. For nearly two decades, AssureCare has served the healthcare industry.