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    State technology subsidies: Dentistry’s best-kept secret

    The federal initiative, the EHR Incentive Program, can mean big money for dental practices.

    Why would a five-provider dental practice throw away over $300,000 in state subsidies that they were eligible to receive? Probably because they weren't aware of a federal program administered by individual states that has been around for five years now and has distributed over $30 billion to mostly medical practices while many dental practices have stood on the sideline.

    In this same scenario a group practice of just 15 dentists could be eligible for a subsidy of almost a million dollars. And if any of your eligible dentists haven't started the program by the end of 2016 it will be too late. Do I have your attention now?

    Known as the Electronic Health Records Incentive Program, the purpose is to provide financial rewards for practices and groups that have purchasing certified software systems and used them in a “meaningful way” to improve patient care and outcomes While this federal program has been wildly popular in the medical world, it doesn't seem to have had the same visibility or understanding in the dental industry.

    I think one of the reasons is because there has been a lot of misinformation put out there regarding this program. Having personally been involved with this program since its inception I can tell you that, if eligible, a practice would be crazy not to at least understand it better and see if they can take advantage of the incentive dollars that are available. With all the confusion surrounding this program I thought it would be worthwhile to clarify a few things. It's about time that dental practices and groups demand their fair share of a program that is in reality funded by your tax dollars.

    More on EHR: New online tool helps practices evaluate dental EHR vendors

    How does it work?

    There is a lot of incentive money to go around and there are a couple of main requirements to get you in the game:

    1)    At least one dentist in your practice must have 30 percent or more Medicaid patient visits during one 90-day period in 2015. Some states will also allow you to substitute a 90-day period in 2016.

    2)    You must either purchase a certified EHR, or upgrade your present EHR to meet certified testing requirements by the end of 2016.

    So, the light at the end of the tunnel is that if you meet the above requirements then you are eligible to receive up to $63,750 per eligible dentist. Payments are spread out over a six-year period with the first year payment being $21,250 per dentist.

     

    Continue to the next page to read about how it can all get a little tricky...

    Mike Uretz
    Mike Uretz is a nationally-recognized Dental software and Electronic Health Records (EHR) expert. Mike has helped hundreds of individual ...

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