Analysis of REC Funding

In addition to what I wrote about in my previous post, Marc Holland also does a pretty detailed analysis of the resources that RECs will have available to help resolve these physician concerns. He estimates in New York (where there are 2 RECs), they will have $4850 per physician available. The Ohio REC has $4750 per physician and the Michigan REC has $3300 per physician.

Of course, this per physician rate is a little misleading since these RECs won’t get their entire grant if they don’t perform. So, depending on how they do, it could be even less.

He also estimated based on the above numbers and the average cost for an EMR consultant that the RECs to break even would be able to provide “roughly two person-weeks in total – for contracting, for site planning, for training, for installation and first line post-implementation support.” Then, he suggested that wasn’t likely enough.

I generally agree that 2 weeks is not enough. However, it depends on the EMR consultants and more importantly, how creative the RECs become in using their EMR consultants and other resources. I’ve implemented in a clinic in two person weeks total spread out over a bit of time. So, it’s definitely possible. However, is that the best use of the resources the RECs have been given?

I personally don’t see the RECs providing this type of “free EMR consulting” services. I think the RECs are going to focus on more broad based strategies. The problem is that if you’re too broad based, then you aren’t that helpful. However, if you’re too focused then you can’t help enough people. Walking this line is going to be an interesting challenge.

Marc Holland, also suggests from the above numbers that the New York RECs alone will have to ramp up staffing to at least 100-120 analysts in the next 60-90 days. For me, that’s just funny to even think about. How many qualified EMR analysts (consultants if you will) are there in the US? And how many of those that are really qualified will want to go and work for a REC?

This is going to be really interesting to watch.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, 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, EXPO.health, 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.

9 Comments

  • John, nice post. Having some experience with RECs, that balance of focused versus broad assistance will be a constant battle. My advise has always been that the RECs are there to help the providers (particularly the solos and smalls) just the first few steps of EHR adoption and use. For many of us in the consulting side, we sometimes forget how frustrating and scary it can be for a solo practice to start on the EHR road. I would be very happy if a REC can assist their providers to:
    – Really understand the cost and beneift of an EHR
    – Honest view of the challenges providers will face
    – Help providers select a proper EHR for their practice
    – Help providers understand and get them started on the Project Management side of EHR implementation
    – Provide the basics of Meaningful Use
    – Just be there to continually support them when providers feel frustrated or overwhelmed

    Solos and smalls just want some comfort and guidance but they have to be specific enough to take actions.

  • “the New York RECs alone will have to ramp up staffing to at least 100-120 analysts in the next 60-90 days.”
    ___

    My REC has all of 8 people hired as full time REC FTE (including me). Our ops plan has us “enrolling” at least 1,500 providers. Do the FTE math. They wanted to hire new 20 REC staff at the outset, but the early burn rate would have been unsustainable.

    Now, of course, there’s an expectation of some leveraging, i.e., where you have, say, 10 enrolled providers at one site, all using the same system, plus enrolling clinics already up live, so all you have to do is shepherd them to MU.

    Still, this program has some serious problems looming. See the Manatt “HITECH Revisited” report:

    http://www.manatt.com/uploadedFiles/News_and_Events/Newsletters/HealthLaw@Manatt/HITECH%20Revisited_Final%20May%2031,%202010.pdf

    Increasing anxiety out there.

  • BobbyG, Would love to get a chance to talk to you. I just finished REC research (outside looking in) and started to talk with RECs to fill out the research. Part of it is the sustainability side. I like to see if I can get HealthInsight’s strategy. I can also share what I have found so far in my talks with RECs. Please contact me at david.lee@erecords.com

  • David, our strategy is pretty transparent. All set forth right there on our website. As far as “sustainability” goes, I am dubious. With respect to the REC program writ large, not just with respect to us. See the Manatt report, for example. Skeptics abound.

  • BobbyG, I read the Manatt report and having spoken with several RECs, I agree. It will be very challenging including the goal of helping PPCPs reach MU within 2 years.

  • I started to leave a comment here on the comments to my post, but apparently exceeded the character limit set for this site. My reply is now out in the ether somewhere, so if one of you find it, would you send it back to me? 🙂

    I’m kicking myself for not having saved it somewhere else. I will try to recreate it and will post it later this afternoon to my own blog, which is hosted at http://www.healthsystemcio.com, where there is no character limit. “See” you there. Feel free to write me directly at mholland@systemresearchservices.com, and sign up for my complimentary newsletter at http://www.systemresearchservices.com. Thanks.

  • Hi Marc,
    We actually don’t have a limit on the number of characters for comments. So, I’m not sure what happened to your post. Maybe was a high traffic time when you submitted your comment and so it got lost. Usually you can just hit the back button and it will be there. I checked and it wasn’t saved anywhere else unfortunately.

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