North Carolina AHEC Program
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NC AHEC REC Rolls Out Onsite Consulting for Primary Care Providers

NC RECNC AHEC is working with Primary Care Providers to help them achieve "meaningful use" of their new or existing Electronic Health Records (EHR). As a federally-designated Regional Extension Center, NC AHEC will provide individualized, on-site EHR consulting tailored to qualified practice’s specific needs at no charge to the practice.

Consultants from AHEC will help practices to:

Each provider may be eligible for up to $44,000 or more through this program.

See the FAQs below or visit NC AHEC's The Quality Source for more information or view our information sheets as pdf documents (Practice-Based Services, National Health Information Technology Info, NC Regional Extension Center, Improving Performance in Practice).

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the National Health Information Technology Extension Program?

The national extension program established a network of Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers (Regional Extension Centers) to offer technical assistance, guidance, and information of best practices to support and accelerate health care providers’ efforts to become meaningful users of EHRs. In total, the Regional Extension Centers will support at least 100,000 priority primary care providers (small practices and those serving safety-net populations), through participating non-profit organizations, in achieving meaningful use of EHRs and enabling the exchange of health information. The Extension Program also established a national Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC), funded separately, which will gather relevant information on effective practices from a wide variety of sources across the country and help the Regional extension Centers collaborate with one another and with relevant stakeholders to identify and share best practices in EHR adoption, effective use, and provider support. The HITRC will build a virtual community of shared learning to advance best practices that support providers’ adoption and meaningful use of EHRs.

How is the National Health Information Technology Extension Program funded?

Funding is from the Office if the National Coordinator for Health IT, in the form of cooperative agreements for this program, was awarded in two cycles. In total, the fully funded program is in excess of $700 million. For more information, please visit HealthIT.gov.

What is “Meaningful Use”?

Federal standards for “meaningful use” of Electronic Health Records provide guidance for practices that want to use their EHR to improve clinical care, reduce dangerous medical errors, and control health care costs. Providers can earn up to $44,000 for Medicare or up to $63,750 for Medicaid in federal incentives by properly implementing and demonstrating “meaningful use” of a certified EHR. Maximum incentives are available to providers who meet “meaningful use” standards by 2011. Providers not meeting “meaningful use” standards by 2015 will be reimbursed by Medicare at a lower rate.

What you can expect from the Regional Extension Center (REC)?

In eligible practices, an AHEC Consultant with EHR expertise is assigned to each practice. Through all steps of EHR preparation, selection and implementation, your AHEC Consultant, at no charge to your practice, works onsite with you to:

What is the HITECH Act of 2009?

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 seeks to improve American health care delivery and patient care through an unprecedented investment in health information technology. The provisions of the HITECH Act are specifically designed to work together to provide the necessary assistance and technological support to providers, enable coordination and alignment within and among states, establish connectivity to the public health community in case of emergencies, and assure the workforce is properly trained and equipped to be meaningful users of EHRs. Combined these programs build the foundation for every American to benefit from an electronic health record, as part of a modernized, interconnected, and vastly improved system of care delivery.

The HITECH Act amends Title XXX of the Public Health Service Act by adding Section 3012, Health Information Technology Implementation Assistance. This section provides supportive services for the rest of the HITECH Act. Section 3012 (a) establishes the Health Information Technology Extension Program (Extension Program) which consists of both the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers (Regional Extension Centers) and the Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC).

The HITECH Act also authorizes additional programs, initiatives, and regulations including to those related to strengthening health information exchange, health IT innovation, the health IT workforce, Beacon communities, standards and certification, and the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs. Information on these initiatives can be found at HealthIT.gov.