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Netsmart Technologies is First Behavioral Healthcare Software Provider to Pass Final Rule ARRA Certification Tests
Date:10/12/2010

GREAT RIVER, N.Y. Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Netsmart Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of software and services for health and human services organizations, today announced that its Avatar™ 2011 electronic health record (EHR) software successfully completed 31 of the 45 ARRA certification tests earning a Certificate of EHR Compliance for 29 modules. Behavioral healthcare providers must use a fully ARRA-certified EHR to qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments for the "meaningful use" of EHR technology.

Netsmart is targeting December 2010 for successful completion of the remaining ARRA tests for Avatar 2011. Unlike preliminary certification, the Certificate of EHR Compliance level of certification assures that behavioral health provider organizations are using software that helps make them eligible for ARRA funding incentives based on the Final Rule issued July 13, 2010, by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Testing was conducted under Drummond Group's Electronic Health Records ONC-ATCB program. Drummond Group, Inc., is an Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB) named by the Office of the National Coordinator to provide meaningful use certification for EHR systems and applications.

"Drummond Group has over ten years of software testing experience in several industries and we are pleased to bring that experience to the HIT marketplace. It is a privilege to carry out testing and certification in EHRs for HHS," said Rik Drummond, CEO, Drummond Group, Inc.

The successful tests for Avatar 2011 included passage of nine required security-related modules and other tests in such areas as computerized provider order entry, clinical decision support, medication management, Health Information Exchange (HIE) encryption, providing consumers timely access to information, and capturing vital signs and Body Mass Index (BMI) data.

In addition to Avatar 2011 certification, Netsmart is seeking full certification for its CMHC/MIS behavioral health and Insight public health software products. These three enterprise software products, in conjunction with Netsmart's order entry, e-prescribing, consumer Web portal and health information exchange (HIE) interoperability technology, will help  behavioral and public health provider organizations take advantage of the significant funding provided for the Meaningful Use of EHRs.

"Netsmart wants to be the single-source behavioral health software Meaningful Use technology partner, helping providers avoid the need to spend dollars and staff resources integrating different EHR products from multiple vendors that only pass a subset of the 45 tests," said James L. Conway, chief executive officer, Netsmart Technologies. "It is important that providers understand the importance of their vendor testing on all of the certification criteria so they have a complete solution."

Behavioral health organizations are currently eligible for ARRA incentives based on the number of Eligible Professionals (EPs), such as physicians and nurse practitioners, in their organization, assuming the organization meets criteria for Meaningful Use of a certified EHR and the professionals assign their incentives to the organization. The total benefit for Medicaid Eligible Professionals is $63,750 per EP over a six-year period – a significant financial incentive for organizations.

"It's essential that providers work with a software vendor who can attain ARRA certification on all the test criteria," said Mary Ruiz, CEO, Manatee Glens, a not-for-profit provider of mental health and addiction services organization based in Bradenton, Fla.  "It takes a significant knowledge and resource commitment for vendors to achieve certification. If you have already implemented an EHR or are looking to do so, it's important to work with a software provider like Netsmart that has the resources, financial capacity and experience to achieve full certification."

In addition to the monetary incentives, the adoption of EHRs can improve quality of care, advance patient safety, increase customer satisfaction and enhance office efficiency. Facilities and practices using a certified EHR may also experience increased profitability through reduced costs and increased revenue.

Organizations that meet eligibility requirements in 2011 will receive their incentive funds in a lump sum during the first quarter of 2012. Beginning in 2015, the ARRA law also imposes penalties (Medicare reimbursement reductions) on those organizations that are not meeting Meaningful Use criteria.  

Netsmart helped lead the way toward introduction of corrective legislation currently under consideration by Congress to extend eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare Meaningful Use incentive funds to behavioral health, mental health, and substance abuse treatment professionals and facilities not previously included as eligible in the HITECH Act. If adopted, the proposed legislation will help behavioral health, mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities become eligible for higher levels of Medicaid and Medicare incentive funds. The legislation also expands Hospital Meaningful Use incentive funding eligibility to include inpatient psychiatric hospitals, and expands eligibility to include mental health treatment facilities and substance abuse treatment facilities. It also expands the definition of Eligible Professional to include clinical psychologists and social workers.

To learn more about how Netsmart can help behavioral health and public health organizations qualify for Meaningful Use incentives, visit www.ntst.com/meaningfuluse.

About Netsmart Technologies, Inc.

Netsmart Technologies is an established, leading supplier of enterprise software and software as a service (SaaS) solutions for health and human services providers. More than 18,000 customer organizations, including 350,000 care providers and 40 state systems, use Netsmart products to help improve the quality of life for millions of people each year.

Netsmart customers include mental health and substance abuse treatment agencies, psychiatric hospitals, private and group mental health practices, public health departments, vital records offices and managed care organizations. Netsmart's products are full-featured information systems that operate on a variety of operating systems, hardware platforms, and mobile devices, and offer unlimited scalability.

Netsmart provides expertise and solutions that help its customers meet all the criteria for "meaningful use" of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. These include experience in electronic health record certification, the InfoScriber™ e-prescribing service, the Netsmart CareConnect™ service that enables the sharing of clinical information through health information exchanges, the Netsmart ConsumerConnect™ Web portal to provide consumer access to their care information, and a flexible platform to capture and share outcomes data.  Netsmart customers can utilize Netsmart solutions to meet all Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria, avoiding the costly and time-consuming process of integrating solutions from multiple vendors. Netsmart's Avatar 2011 software recently completed the first phase of Certificate of EHR Compliance for Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria.

Netsmart's Connected Care initiative allows behavioral and public healthcare providers to share clinical data electronically within their internal processes, externally with other providers, and with consumers via a Web-based portal, enabling high quality, consumer-directed care.

For information about Netsmart Technologies' full range of solutions for health and human services organizations, visit www.ntst.com or call 1-800-472-5509.

This EHR Module is 2011/2012 compliant and has been certified by an ONC-ATCB in accordance with the applicable certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This certification does not represent an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or guarantee the receipt of incentive payments.

Avatar, InfoScriber, Netsmart CareConnect and Netsmart ConsumerConnect are trademarks of Netsmart Technologies, Inc.


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SOURCE Netsmart Technologies, Inc.
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