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EHR and healthcare reform

December 1, 2010
by Nelson W. Burns
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As BH Executives attempt to look to the future with Healthcare Reform, what can these executives glean from facts and fiction? And, is there a connection with the evolution of a BH EHR system, a Hospital EHR system and Healthcare reform? Wow… you wonder what keeps us executives awake at night!

If we listen to a variety of experts from “The Hill” or Dale Jarvis from The National Council we are acutely aware that BH practices need to be linked to Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) of the future. These ACO’s will be established by 2012. When reviewing the Healthcare and Behavioral Healthcare landscape, one notices that family healthcare practices are quickly joining Hospital Systems. The idea here is that Hospital Systems, well capitalized, will develop these ACO’s and the smaller healthcare practices cannot complete without joining the ACO (at least on Medicare and Medicaid). I emphasize the notion of capitalization because I believe this is where an organization’s EHR system comes into play.

Now take a private proprietary behavioral health practice or a nonprofit organization billing $1 to $5 million per year. These practices will be vying to join the ACO’s as fast as the $25 to $50 million organizations. The larger BH organizations will have their own EHR system where the smaller practices will probably not. Will we then see the smaller practices want to join the larger BH systems to be effectively attractable to the ACO’s or Hospital Systems?

What type of collaboration can the larger BH organization offer the smaller practices in order to successfully sustain themselves? Without a specialty BH service, the organization is a commodity and Hospital systems probably don’t need another commodity service. Any good BH organization needs to prepare themselves to be attractable organizations to Healthcare systems of the future.



Could you elaborate on why CHMCs will need to be part of ACOs?

Nelson W. Burns

Nelson W. Burns

Nelson W. Burns has been the president and CEO of ...

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