After Helping Thousands of Providers Receive Incentive Payments and Optimize EHR Use, Colorado Regional Extension Center Transitions to Expanded Services

Date: May 4th, 2016Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: Transformation Support Services, Regional Extension Center


As a multi-year ARRA HITECH program comes to a close, experts from the Colorado Regional Extension Center will continue to serve the community with expanded services.

Through partnerships with community organizations, the Colorado Regional Extension Center (REC) helped thousands of providers navigate constantly changing regulations on EHR incentive programs, select and optimize electronic health record systems, and maintain privacy and security compliance.

CORHIO administered the REC program and partnered with seven local health care organizations to deliver services to providers, including ClinicNET, Colorado Community Managed Care Network, Colorado Rural Health Center, HealthTeamWorks, Physician Health Partners, Telligen and Quality Health Network. This collaborative approach allowed the REC to reach providers throughout the entire state, in metro and rural areas.

“The Colorado REC program has long exceeded its initial REC goals and has become a local leader of practice transformation efforts,” said Lisa-Nicole Sarnowski, Senior Advisor, Office of Programs & Engagement for HHS, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. “The passionate and highly skilled team partners worked with practices to break multifaceted initiatives into manageable steps, starting with meaningful use of certified health IT and quickly funneling into other improvement initiatives. This approach helped practices build their own knowledge-base and skills, which will help even more providers leverage certified health IT to adapt to inevitable changes and continue to improve the way care is delivered.”

Practice-Level Impact of REC Assistance

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), which invested more than $700 million in the REC program, recently released a study of the program. The study indicates that 68 percent of the eligible professionals who received incentive payments under Stage 1 were REC-assisted, compared to just 12 percent of those without REC help. A similar 2012 GAO study reported that REC-assisted Medicare providers were more than twice as likely to receive incentive payments.

The Colorado REC helped thousands of providers to receive incentive payments through both the Medicaid and Medicare EHR Incentive Programs. In fact, the REC surpassed its original goal of helping 2,295 primary care providers and 33 rural and critical access hospitals adopt and meaningfully use EHR technology. Additionally, through a special program with the state of Kansas, the Colorado REC assisted an additional 122 Colorado Eligible Professionals in the Meaningful Use program.

“For the past several years, the team at CORHIO has helped us understand the Meaningful Use and Physician Quality Reporting System requirements. I’m not confident we would have been successful with our numerous attestations without their expertise and understanding of our EHR system,” said Jenny Buchloh, Executive Director, PVMC Clinic Support Services, LLC. “CORHIO has been a true partner to our clinic practices and we are very grateful for their excellent support.”

“When we first met with CORHIO, our resource Leslie educated us about Meaningful Use in general, the timing, incentives, the ins and outs, and she literally walked me through attesting for my docs,” says Lisa DeRose, Director of Operations at AFC Urgent Care. “Having CORHIO as a resource -- someone that was willing to come to us and be hands on -- was very beneficial. Otherwise the process would have been much more difficult.”

Continued Practice Transformation Services

Although the Colorado Regional Extension Center has completed its program goals, the team of experts at CORHIO will continue to offer healthcare providers assistance with health information technology, particularly navigating MACRA and patient-centered medical home and helping practices take advantage of the many grant funding opportunities available in the state.

“As healthcare transitions from fee-for-service to value-based, the work the Colorado REC has done is even more important than ever,” says Kelly Procopio, Vice President, Transformation Support Services at CORHIO. “We’ve become experts in helping practices optimize their electronic systems for Meaningful Use, quality reporting, medical home certification and improved patient care. Continuing to offer these services keeps this expertise in the Colorado community.”

To learn more about CORHIO’s continued practice transformation support services, please visit us online.