New Program Accredits Physician Practice Management Vendors

By Joseph Goedert

Oct. 8 —Representing 12 of the nation’s physician practice management vendors that serve more than 300,000 providers, the Healthcare Administrative Technology Association is pushing its members to become accredited for meeting best practices for business functions and technology prowess.

Under a partnership with the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission, HATA members are being offered discounts for getting accredited under a process that can take up to a year. EHNAC application fees are being discounted by $400 for vendors with less than $75 million in annual revenue, with a $600 discount for larger firms. Further, HATA will discount by 25 percent its annual dues for members who have applied for EHNAC accreditation, and will offer a 10 percent discount on renewal memberships of companies that maintain their accreditation.

EHNAC’s Practice Management Systems Accreditation Program, co-developed with the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, is one of 10 technology-specific programs that EHNAC offers.

The practice management program assesses a vendor’s ability to offer tools that optimize workflows and improve efficiencies, enhance revenue cycle management and reporting, support ICD-10, easily integrate with electronic health records, secure protected health information and support best business practices.

Also See: New Accreditation Program Targets Data Registries

HATA, whose membership includes the American Medical Association, in early 2015 endorsed the EHNAC accreditation program to its members and three vendors—NextGen Healthcare, HealthPAC and GE Healthcare—went through the program. During the year, HATA has published information about the program on its web site, conducted two web seminars and a mailing to promote accreditation, and hosted presentations by NextGen, HealthPAC and GE Healthcare. Now is the time for other members to get on board, says Tim McMullen, executive director at HATA.

Until now, most members have been buried in getting ready for Stage 2 of the electronic health records meaningful use program and ICD-10, McMullen says. “Adding a practice management system accreditation program on top of all that just was not on their radar.”

Now, McMullen expects an uptick in members applying for accreditation in early 2016. All members see an advantage to being accredited as it distinguishes them from the rest of the practice management vendor pack, he adds. And that should bring more of the 400+ practice management vendors across the nation into the association.

The Medical Group Management Association during its annual conference this month, along with EHNAC and HATA, will be promoting the accreditation program and encouraging providers to talk to their practice management vendors about getting accredited, says Lee Barrett, executive director of EHNAC. The American Medical Association also is putting the word out to its members about the program. The associations also will be talking to practice management vendors exhibiting at the show. “We’re trying to get them to stand up and take notice,” Barrett says. While not pushing practice management vendors to join HATA, “clearly that would be terrific if organizations joined them,” he adds.

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