Having assisted a number of state Regional Extension Centers with contract negotiations this past year, and being sensitive to my clients getting their reimbursement funds, I have been amazed at the number of vendors who profess to give you a guarantee on meaningful use, but don’t really put any “teeth” in it.
Many of the contracts I have seen state that the vendor will guarantee meaningful use. First of all, they cannot guarantee meaningful use per se… that is your job … to use the EHR in accordance with the MU guidelines and then attest to get your bucks form the HITECH program. But, instead, what a vendor can and should do is guarantee eligibility for meaningful use reimbursement. Meaningful use is not about software features, but about using those software features.
What can you do to add teeth to the contract?
What happens if the software isn’t eligible for reimbursement? In that case, the vendor should commit to some kind of remedy such as refunds, partial refunds, or credits for the time you are not eligible. Remember, a guarantee is only as good as the paper it’s written on unless there are some repercussions for not complying with the commitments.
And, don’t forget: in addition to meaningful use eligibility, make sure that the vendor guarantees that their software will support the reporting and attestation required for reimbursement.
Michael Uretz is a thirty-year healthcare IT veteran and nationally-recognized Electronic Health Records (EHR) and healthcare software expert.