The regional extension centers (RECs) are coming out of the woodwork to tout their usefulness in helping physicians successfully attest to Meaningful Use, now that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report saying that physicians who signed up for help from an REC were more than twice as likely to have received an incentive payment.
For instance, California's REC, CalHIPSO, announced shortly after the report's publication that the GAO's data confirms the REC's success in helping practices attest to meaningful use. CalHIPSO, the largest REC in the country, has helped 4,277 providers receive $413,459,380 in incentive payments.
Oregon followed suit, announcing that its REC--Oregon Health Information Technology Extension Center--currently is serving 3,075 primary care providers and 400 specialists, and has 87.5 percent of its members on their way to achieving Meaningful Use, according to Dawn Bonder, director of O-HITEC. About 16 percent of O-HITEC's members already are meeting Meaningful Use, and they expect that percentage to increase to between 35 and 40 percent by the end of the year, Bonder said in a statement. The REC also is assisting all 25 critical access hospitals in Oregon and three rural hospitals; 14 percent of them have achieved Meaningful Use.
Even RECs that haven't published their attestation numbers, which may mean that they've yet to see substantial attestation success, have been posting the GAO report on their websites and tweeting about it.
The RECs have been up front about the difficulties they've faced in assisting physicians in attesting to Meaningful Use, recently reporting to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that they've encountered 15,946 issues impacting 45,863 providers, such as attestation processing problems and lack of vendor support.