Lack of Rec Support Cause of Meaningful Use Stage 2 Slowdown?

By now, I imagine that most of you have read about the meaningful use stage 2 delay and EHR certification flexibility. The details and interpretation are still going on, but it’s a big change to the current meaningful use program. Although, the biggest question I hear asked is if the change leaves enough time for organizations to change course. I think the rule has to be open for 60 days of comment before it becomes final. We’ll see if that leaves people enough time.

We’ll see if this change will provide some relief to a meaningful use program that I described as on the ropes. In response to that post, Deborah Sherl, BSN, RN, CHTS, CHPS, made an interesting comment on a possible cause of the meaningful use stage 2

@ John Lynn…. of course I am slightly biased on the topic of the rapid response & deployment of Stage 1 vs Stage 2. A great amount of Stage 1 success was ushered in with the amazing assistance of professional consultants across the country for those EPs & EHs that were willing to use us…. and we were called the Regional Extension Centers Health IT workforce.

Now that the federal grant is done (Feb.2014) Stage 2 implementations are possibly stalled not only by overburdened EMR vendors, but lack of project management forces that were provided by the RECS. Many RECs have built sustainable business models but are no longer “free” services as was perceived while under the HITECH grant.

I find this a very interesting hypothesis. I’m not sure that it accurately reflects why many organizations chose not to attest to MU stage 2, but it certainly didn’t help things. In fact, it adds one more log to the already burning fire. Think about what happens with MU stage 2. We’re going to pay them less incentive money, require them to do substantially more, and oh yeah…those “free” REC support resources are now gone too. Plus, your EHR vendor may or may not be ready either.

I think the changes to the EHR Certification requirements and delay of meaningful use stage 2 are good. Although, I’m hoping this is just the start of HHS blowing up meaningful use and making it dramatically simpler and more meaningful.

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.


  • Got this comment sent to me that was worth sharing:
    REC’s in other areas of the country must have been dramatically more helpful than in my area of the country. Our MU consulting side arose out of an unfulfilled need for providers to get help meeting MU. Specialists were not able to utilize the services, yet still needed to meet MU- we worked with a large hospital with about 115 EP’s and we signed all of the primary care providers up for the REC services, but literally the only thing they did was come in and host an education session…one time. And then ask us for proof of the physicians who attested. I keep hearing people talk about how great the REC’s were and it was just not true in our region AT all.

  • I think there were some successful RECs, but overall I never saw much.

    I tried to work with a REC in our area (I consult in MU & HIPAA compliance).
    It was the classic Gov bureaucrats walking in circles.
    Nobody could (or would) make a decision, they thought they knew what they were doing (they didn’t IMO), and most had no future view that their money would run out some time and needed to create a revenue stream…oh wait, but what they supply is free, so how do you then start charging??

    RECs tend to be a mess, trying to decipher the other mess the MU geniuses created.

  • I truly liked the work SFREC was doing in South Florida. Problem is they are going to be unfounded and who now fills the void. I know of several end users that gained valuable assistance early on in the engagement.

    My 2 cents worth.

  • Brendon,
    I know some NV REC people who’ve done some awesome work for practices as well. Although, it seems like people’s REC experience varies by REC and even employees in a REC.

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