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Electronic Health Records

The ongoing effort to move the nation’s healthcare system away from paper and toward Electronic Health Records (EHR) promises to yield substantial savings over the long term. Because it is in its earliest stages, however, the EHR adoption process remains fraught with potential legal and financial risk. The veteran attorneys on LeClairRyan’s EHR practice team are steeped in the complexities of EHR—from maintaining privacy and security on data networks and the Web, to seeking to steer medical practices away from systems and technologies that are likely to become non-compliant or obsolete.

Our attorneys are well-positioned to help medical practices take full advantage of the existing $35 billion in EHR incentives now available through the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Those provisions, which allow doctors to apply for and obtain up to an aggregate of $44,000 EHR-implementation incentives per individual physician [designed to encourage early adoption by front-loading $18,000 for EHR use in 2011 or 2012, then $12,000; $8,000; $4,000 and $2,000 in each subsequent year and expire in 2015. Thereafter, customary reimbursement rates are scheduled to fall precipitously for practices that have failed to embrace EHR by the 2015 deadline.

Meanwhile, LeClairRyan attorneys are closely following day-to-day developments in the raft of EHR-related provisions in the Obama administration’s healthcare reform package. Our attorneys will continue to track all EHR-related trends and proposed or enacted regulations in order to keep our clients ahead of the curve in this fast-developing area. Regardless of the eventual shape of this healthcare reform legislation, these EHR incentive grants are enacted, are fully funded and are available to healthcare providers NOW.

Uncertainties in the EHR-adoption process can be as basic as what exactly regulators mean when they call for a “meaningful” adoption of the technology. And, as many physicians have already learned, EHR technology vendors often work with standard, one-size-fits-all contracts that give physicians no recourse if the technology they invest in later becomes obsolete or non-compliant. Our attorneys are adept at winning flexible commercial contracts that help physicians and CIOs to stop worrying about EHR implementation and focus on what they do best—healing patients.


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