Regional extension centers (RECs)

The federal government assists physicians in EHR by funding regional extension centers (RECs) to support physicians and their practices who implement EHRs in the next several years (see Chapter 6). Each REC, responsible for a geographic area, is expected to support providers in achieving Meaningful Use. RECs offer a menu of on-site, practical services to help you meet your EHR initiative goals. Initially, RECs focus on the primary care providers least likely to achieve Meaningful Use on their own, especially small practices with fewer than 10 providers and community health centers.

RECs focus on two target populations: physicians with an EHR who are looking to optimize their systems to meet the Meaningful Use criteria and primary care physicians who have yet to select and implement EHR. By working with your REC, you can get lower pricing through bulk purchasing agreements; access to implementation experts who provide advice on system design, workflow changes, training and support; and comprehensive sharing of best practices for a specific vendor and for general use of the EHR. REC fees range from free to a few thousand dollars, depending on whether you qualify as a priority provider, the range of services the REC is offering, and how the services are packaged.

The REC that covers your region is one of your best sources for information. Table 3-1 lists all the RECs. If you’re not a priority provider for REC services, RECs have Web sites, printed ...

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