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The Time Is Right for Doctors to 'Go Digital'
Date:3/3/2010

Already, some $35 billion in EMR incentives are available through the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). However, healthcare providers–who are required by law to make "meaningful use" of EMR in order to receive $44,000 EMR-implementation grants–have been waiting for the government to clarify the meaning of this term before investing in new systems, noted senior counsel Patrick J. Hurd, a veteran medical industry attorney based in LeClairRyan's Norfolk, Va., office.

"Healthcare providers need not sit on the sidelines any longer," said Hurd, who is the leader of the firm's Healthcare Industry Team. "The government published its preliminary EMR guidelines in the Federal Register on Dec. 28, its meaningful use regulations January 13, 2010, and it is now in the process of finalizing them. Although new requirements might be added, the benchmarks are unlikely to change dramatically. Much of the uncertainty about EMR-implementation has been removed."

Medical practices, hospitals and other healthcare providers also should be cognizant of the manifold other reasons to act now on EMR, added Stanley U. North, a Newark-based partner in LeClairRyan and frequent speaker on EMR-related issues. "For example, the legislation that created the current EMR
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