Instance Where Guaranteed EMR Stimulus Money Gets Nothing

Many EMR vendors have been announcing all sorts of guarantees about the EMR stimulus money. I think this is probably a smart move for many of these EMR vendors. It’s one more tool in the belt of their EMR salespeople. However, I think it’s worth considering an instance where someone thinks that their stimulus money is guaranteed and they end up with Nothing.

Let’s say a doctor’s office submits proof of meaningful use (however this will actually be done) and CMS comes back with a rejection letter. Who knows, maybe they didn’t record the preferred language or ethnicity of each patient. Maybe they weren’t able to report immunizations to the immunization registry properly. Whatever it is, they get a notification that they’ve been denied the EMR stimulus money.

Of course, this doctor isn’t worried, because their EMR vendor guaranteed them the stimulus money. So, they turn to their EMR vendor to collect the money.

What the doctor didn’t make note of was that in the guarantee of the EMR vendor, it says something about the doctor’s responsibility versus the EMR vendor. Basically, the EMR vendor just has to provide the capability to receive the stimulus money. They can’t guarantee that you’ll actually use their software the way they want you to and be able to get the stimulus money.

Using the examples above, the EMR vendor wouldn’t be responsible if the feature for tracking preferred language and ethnicity is available in the software and you just chose not to record it. At least that will likely be their argument. It’s also not their responsibility if you didn’t record the immunizations in the granular format that was needed to be able to report it to the immunization registry.

Point being that the EMR vendor is guaranteeing that the software is capable of getting the EMR stimulus money. They’re not guaranteeing that YOU will get the money. You are still responsible for understanding the 692 pages of Meaningful Use documentation to make sure you’re using all your EMR’s features that will get you the EMR stimulus money.

Just don’t be surprised if you ask your EMR vendor to make good on their guarantee and you get blamed for not getting the EMR stimulus money and end up with nothing.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • Not sure how much a ‘guarrantee’ will play at the end of the day …

    Guarantee of this type used in business is a marketing ploy which may get a vendor to the second round but it will not close a deal. Legal staff for a hospital and even the outside counsel for a group practice will get any guarrantee language fully vetted by the vendor and understood by their decision makers.

    A legit guarantee is paid for some way. When offered by a vendor rest assured its cost is in the sale price. If an EHR vendor offered me a package with a guarantee at a price … I’d just tell them to back out the guarantee from the price tag on the box. When the sales staff can’t come off the box price an amount equal to the future value of the money to pay the stimulus rebate … then I know that the guarrantee was really an empty promise.

    Old adage in business. If you aren’t paying for it you aren’t buying it. Nothing of value is free.

    As noted in quite a few posts … the key to a meaningful use certfication is not just the software but in changing business practices and training training training … auditing … and more training. The software is really not that big a component of the ‘meaningful use’ equation.

    And… obtaining the business and clinical value from what is really ‘meaningful use’ as defined internally is far more important than a stimulus incentive. Darn good thing too because $18bil ain’t going last real long anyway.

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