Frequently Asked Questions

Meridian Electronic Health Record Subsidy Program
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is eligible to participate in the Meridian subsidy program?

A. Full time and part time Meridian affiliated physicians who meet the program eligibility requirements (described below), as well as the physician's advance practice caregivers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants).   


Q. What are the program eligibility requirements for physicians?

A. Eligible physicians must meet the following criteria:

  • be an active member of a Meridian hospital medical staff in good standing,
  • be a participating provider in Medicare (except for those specialties that do not provide Medicare covered services such as OB and pediatrics),
  • use computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and electronic signature at Meridian hospitals and partner companies that have CPOE capabilities or when such capabilities are in place,
  • comply with evidence-based protocols/guidelines as identified by the Clinical Excellence Committee (CEC), 
  • permit the exchange of clinical data between Meridian and the physician EHR for patient treatment, and    
  • participate in Jersey Health Connect, Meridian’s choice for Health Information Exchange.  


Q. Which EHR systems are available under the Meridian subsidy program?

A. After considering the cost, functionality and success in the EHR market, Meridian has partnered with the following vendors – Allscripts Professional, eClinicalWorks, and Practice Fusion. All of these systems are certified to meet federal "meaningful use" requirements and are remote hosted by the vendor rather than installed and hosted at the physician's office. Allscripts will offer a clinical EHR with integrated practice management functions or a clinical EHR only, eClinicalWorks is only available as a combined clinical and practice management system, and Practice Fusion is a clinical EHR only.


Q.  Can I keep my current patient management/billing system and only purchase the clinical EHR?

A. Yes, you can purchase the EHR only option for the Allscripts Professional system, and for Practice Fusion this is the only option available. This option is not available for eClinicalWorks.


Q.  Can I install these systems right away? 

A. The Allscripts Professional, eClinicalWorks, and Practice Fusion products are available for immediate purchase and scheduling of implementation.


Q.  How long does it take to fully install these EMR/PM systems in my practice? 

A. Average installation timeframes are eight (8) to twelve (12) weeks depending on the size and complexity of your practice.


Q.  What are the EHR costs per full time physician for the Allscripts, eClinicalWorks and Practice Fusion systems before Meridian's subsidy?

A. Typically, EHR systems have three major cost components – license fee, installation/training fees and monthly fees for support, maintenance and remote hosting. These sample costs for combined EHR/PM Allscripts, eClinicalworks, and Practice Fusion systems are shown in the chart below based upon a full time physician practice and/or advanced practice caregiver. Pricing will differ based on the practice size and product option chosen by the practice:     

 
Allscripts Professional

eClinicalWorks Practice Fusion (EHR Only)

License   $3,969 $5,000 N/A
Implementation/Training   $9,252 $7,250 N/A
Monthly Fees   $329 $350 $0

Q.  How will Meridian's subsidy program offset the EHR costs for full time Primary Care Physicians and/or their advance practice caregivers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants)?

A. Full time Primary Care Physicians will receive a credit with the vendor of $20,000 to subsidize the upfront costs of license fees, installation/training fees and in some cases a specified number of months of the monthly fees for the system. To comply with federal regulations, Primary Care Physicians will also need to make an upfront payment of at least 15% of the upfront system costs. Your Meridian Hospital contact person can supply you with the specific  detailed information given your practice profile and EHR system selection. Their contact information is below. 

JSUMC Tim Foley 732-776-4087
OMC Cindy Lantz 732-840-3320
RMC/BCH Rachel Weiss
732-450-2910
SOMC Michelle Green
609-978-3104


Q.  Which specialties are included in Primary Care Physicians?

A. Primary Care Physicians include internists, family practice physicians and pediatricians.


Q.  How will Meridian's subsidy program offset the EHR costs for full time Specialist Physicians and/or their advance practice caregivers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants)?

A. Full time Specialist Physicians will receive a credit with the vendor of $8,000 to subsidize the upfront costs of license fees and a portion of the installation/training fees, and in some cases a specified number of months of the monthly fees for the system. To comply with federal regulations, Specialist Physicians will also need to make an upfront payment of at least 15% of the upfront system costs. Your Meridian Hospital contact person can supply you with the specific detailed information given your practice profile and EHR system selection. Their contact information is below. 

JSUMC Tim Foley 732-776-4087
OMC Cindy Lantz 732-840-3320
RMC/BCH Rachel Weiss
732-450-2910
SOMC Michelle Green 609-978-3104

Q.  Will the Meridian subsidy program include part time eligible physicians?

A. Yes, although the amount of the subsidy as well as the upfront costs for part time physicians are different than the amounts for full time eligible physicians. Any physician seeking details on part time physician subsidies should contact Meridian for additional information.  


Q. Are hospital based physicians eligible to participate in the Meridian subsidy program?

A. In general, hospital based physicians (for example, hospitalists, anesthesiologists, emergency department physicians, pathologists, and radiologists) rely on the hospital's clinical record and do not have an outside office and therefore would not be eligible. For those hospital based physicians that have offices outside the hospital where they provide patient care, they should contact Meridian to determine if they are eligible and to obtain information relating to the nature of the subsidy amount.


Q.  Are there any financing arrangements available for physicians to pay the upfront costs?

A. Meridian is not permitted by federal regulation to finance any of the physician's upfront costs. Allscripts and eClinicalworks have both indicated that they have a financing alternative for physicians should they desire to finance the upfront fees.


Q.  Will Meridian subsidize the costs of hardware/equipment for the EHR systems?

A. Meridian is not permitted by federal regulation to subsidize hardware or equipment for a physician's EHR. The EHR vendors will provide hardware specifications/recommendations for their products to the physician.


Q.  Will Meridian provide me the subsidy if I choose another system (not Allscripts Professional, eClinicalworks, or Practice Fusion)? 

A. No. The subsidy for the EHR costs is not available for any EHR system other than Allscripts Professional, eClinicalworks, or Practice Fusion. For those physicians who already have one of the following EHR systems, GE Centricity, eClinicalWorks, Allscripts Professional, Greenway, Practice Fusion, STI, Vitera, and Athena, Meridian will provide each eligible physician a subsidy of up to 85% of the allowable costs of an interface to connect their EHR system to Jersey Health Connect, Meridian’s HIE. The provider will need to enroll in the Jersey Health Connect HIE which may include signing an agreement with Jersey Health Connect directly.


Q.  I have an EHR in my office currently. Am I eligible for the subsidy?

A. Federal regulations prohibit Meridian from reimbursing or subsidizing a physician's existing EHR, or replacing an existing EHR. However, Meridian may provide a subsidy for eligible physicians for allowable costs of an interface to connect their EHR system to Jersey Health Connect. The amount of the subsidy would be 85% of the costs of the interface up to $2,500.


Q.  How do I arrange to connect my existing EHR to Jersey Health Connect?

A. Simply email your interest to itcs@meridianhealth.com and indicate your EHR vendor and a point of contact in your practice. A member from the Meridian HIE team will coordinate the next steps. It is a standard for the EHR vendor to provide both a patient demographics interface as well as a summary of care/CCDA interface. Visit the Meridian EHR Resource Center atwww.meridianhealth.com/ehr for more information about Jersey Health Connect.


Q.  How do I arrange to connect Allscripts Professional, eClinicalworks, and Practice Fusion, the EHR systems available under the Meridian subsidy program, to Jersey Health Connect?

A. Meridian will work directly with these vendors to implement the interfaces.


Q.  Will Meridian help me to install my EHR and/or hardware in my office?

A. Allscripts and eClinicalworks will provide installation and training services to physicians for all of their products. You may also contact Practice Fusion if you wish to install their product.


Q.  How will Meridian pay the subsidy?

A. Since Meridian is prohibited by federal regulations from making any cash payments to the physician, Meridian will pay all subsidies directly to the vendor on behalf of the physician. 


Q.  Does the Meridian subsidy affect my ability to apply for the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive programs?

A. No, this subsidy has no impact on your ability to apply for the Federal "meaningful use" incentive programs. However, we want to remind physicians that in order to qualify for full Medicare meaningful use incentives ($44,000), the physician must have begun using the EHR in a "meaningful way", as defined by CMS, no later than October 1, 2012. For those physicians who did not meet the requirements in 2012 or 2013 they may still be eligible for meaningful use incentives ($24,000) if they begin no later than October 4, 2014.


Q.  Will there be additional system demonstrations so that I can see the systems?

A. There have been numerous meetings and demonstrations held in the past at each Meridian campus. Individual demonstrations can be arranged by contacting the vendor.


Q.  Who can I contact if I have questions not included in this Questions and Answers?

A. You should contact the hospital representative listed below affiliated with your hospital:         

JSUMC Tim Foley 732-776-4087
OMC Cindy Lantz 732-840-3320
RMC/BCH Kelli O'Brien
732-888-7343
SOMC Michelle Green
609-978-3104


 

Q.  What benefits do Electronic Health Records offer to physicians and their practices?

A.  An electronic health record documents a patient's care, and when appropriately connected to other health care providers and organizations, can be used to improve quality care and safety. EHRs offer a number of benefits to the physicians' office, including immediate 24/7 access to patient information, intra-office communication among various members of the care team, tracking tools for testing, results and follow-up, and more timely and accurate billing capabilities to improve office efficiency.


Q. Are podiatrists eligible for the Meridian subsidy? 

A. Yes, they are eligible under the current program.  


Q. How is compliance with evidence-based protocols determined?            

A. Providers agree to utilize existing and future approved evidenced based protocols applicable to their department and/or section as approved by the Meridian Clinical Excellence Committee.  


Q. For CPOE, what percentage and over what time frame is required to be eligible?            

A. Utilization of CPOE must be demonstrated at a level of a minimum 50% over a two month timeframe, with the provider agreeing to continue to utilize CPOE in future at a minimum of 50% or greater.  


Q. If CPOE and E-signature are used infrequently by a physician at a Meridian hospital or if they refer his/her patients to a hospitalist, will they be subject to these eligibility requirements?            

A. Recognizing that some physicians use hospitalists for their patients or attend to their patients in the hospital infrequently, the requirement to use CPOE and E-signature will be applicable to those physicians who enter 500 or more hospital orders per calendar year.  


Q. If a physician retires or closes their practice what happens to the EHR?

A. This issue would be just one that a physician would have to evaluate in the closing of his/her practice or retirement from practice. If a physician is considering retirement prior to the end of the five year agreement, this issue should be discussed with Allscripts and eClinicalWorks during the evaluation of the EHR.


Q. What if a provider is added to the practice after installation of the EHR system?


A. Meridian will subsidize only the cost of the additional license up to 85%. The cost of the license and amount of the subsidy should be discussed with the vendor and Meridian.

Q. Is Dragon Medical (voice recognition software) compatible AllScripts, eClinicalworks, or Practice Fusion?  

A. Your vendor will need to answer this detailed system question.         


Q. Can there be demonstrations on the AllScripts, eClinicalworks, and Practice Fusion programs in private practice?  

A. Yes         


Q. Are there any physicians that currently utilize the AllScripts, eClinicalworks, or Practice Fusion systems that can be used as a reference?  

A. Yes. These vendors can provide references.         


Q.  What happens to the patient data if the physician switches from AllScripts, eClinicalworks, or Practice Fusion to another EHR vendor? What format is the patient information in?  

A. Your vendor will need to answer this detailed system question.      


Q. Are the EHR systems selected suitable across various disciplines, i.e. ophthalmology or psychiatry?  

A. The systems chosen for the subsidy are for EHR use across multiple physician specialties. While these multi-specialty EHR systems may have templates and screens specific to these disciplines, they are not specifically designed for one particular specialty.    


Q. How will the Allscripts clinical system "only" work with my existing billing system?            

A. Your existing billing system vendor will need to work with Allscripts or Practice Fusion to interface the two systems.  


Q. Are software upgrades included?            

A. Yes. Upgrades are included for the Allscripts, eClinicalworks, and Practice Fusion products.  


Q. What happens after the 5 year contract is up?            

A. Physicians will be free to renew with Allscripts, eClinicalworks, or Practice Fusion or to switch to another vendor of their choosing. After 5 years the provider owns the Allscripts software license and will have to recontract with Allscripts for ongoing operational costs (hosting, software maintenance, etc).


Q. Will Meridian have access to physician patient billing/financial data?                        

A. Meridian has no access to the Allscripts Professional, eClinicalworks, patient billing/financial system.


Q. Should a physician wish to contact an EHR system provider representative for more information or to compare/contrast systems (that are not part of the subsidy program) can they be provided with the vendor contact info?            

A. Allscripts can be contacted at the Meridian 800 Hotline Number: 1-877-671-1418  

eClinicalworks can be contacted at : Contact name: Carrie Morrison Phone: 1-866-888-6929.

Practice Fusion can be contacted by visiting the website www.practicefusion.com/meridianhealth.


Q. Where can I find information about Jersey Health Connect?            

A. Meridian has added a section of information regarding Jersey Health Connect to the current EHR Resource Center at www.meridianhealth.com/ehr.  


Q. If involved with the care and treatment of a patient, will a physician be able to access that patient's chart in another physician's EHR system? If so, how?            

A. Physicians cannot directly access another physician's EHR system unless specific system access is provided directly by the other physician. Those physicians that are employed by Meridian or part of the faculty may have access to other Meridian physician charts due to consolidation of patient information in the GE Centricity EHR system. Pertinent patient "treatment" information is shared with Jersey Health Connect and can be accessed via Jersey Health Connect.    


Q. Will the labs, X-ray, etc. results be automatically reported (populated) in the physician's EHR system for their patients? It not, is there a way to "drag" them in?            

A. Laboratory, radiology, and cardiology results from Meridian can be automatically sent to many EHRs by a dedicated interface. Additionally, interfaces to other companies i.e. Quest/Lab Corp are offered by the EHR system vendors. Jersey Health Connect also provides an interface to your EHR, but requires that you query for those results to be retrieved on demand from the HIE for them to be available in your EHR. The information available from the JHC HIE extends beyond results and also includes information on the CCDA [i.e. allergies, problems, past histories, medications, immunizations, vitals, and insurance] from across the full Jersey Health Connect membership.


Q. Will a physician be able to "toggle" back and forth between their office EHR system and the hospital's system without have to sign-in and out of each?            

A. Yes, once the physician has initially signed on to both systems you can toggle between them.   


Q. When a physician places an order (from their office's EHR system) to be done at the hospital, will the order automatically go to the appropriate hospital system to be completed?  

A. Meridian is able to electronically receive laboratory orders placed by physicians from many of the office EHR systems. Radiology and cardiology orders still need to be sent on paper; however, the results from those orders can be automatically sent to many of the office EHR systems.


Q. Will the physician be able to write a script through the office EHR and have it go right to a pharmacy?    

A. Allscripts Professional, eClinicalworks, and Practice Fusion system have this functionality.