For RECs 'The Good Stuff' Is Still Ahead

Frank Irving | Medical Practice Insider | March 20, 2014

In every region of the country, physicians and office managers turn to their Regional Extension Center for help in navigating the EHR adoption process. They've done so in large numbers — with 45 percent of U.S. primary care providers having accessed REC programs and services. The question on the mind of many providers, however, is what will happen to REC support now that the centers have reached the end of the four-year funding cycle stipulated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Mat Kendall, director of the Office of Provider Adoption Support (OPAS) at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, who holds responsibility for administering REC grants, spoke with Medical Practice Insider on Wednesday about the program's accomplishments and future.

Q: Many small and midsize practice providers are getting resources from the RECs. After grant funding runs out, where will providers be able to turn?

A: Many of the extension centers will still be there. Our scope will certainly go dramatically smaller than the 150,000 providers we're currently reaching, but there will still be a resource in play. Many of the extension centers have taken extensive actions to ensure that they have business and stability models to support providers. As new payment models unfold, providers will begin to get paid for quality and not quantity. They are going to realize that they have extra revenue to support services from people who they trust. They will always have extension centers and other organizations similar who will be able to meet their needs...