SD Providers Keep Pace with National Electronic Health Record Initiative

Since spring 2010, already more than 85,000 health care providers have partnered with the national network of Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers (RECs) to build the foundation for an electronically enabled health care system in the U.S. The majority of the providers who have signed up for REC support are affiliated with either small private practices or community health centers, with many specializing in family practice or internal medicine.  South Dakota providers are part of that growing number.

"Implementing EHRs is a challenging process, and we congratulate the providers who have made the commitment to improve patient care through the use of technology,” said Farzad Mostashari, Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy within the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology. “Providers working with the RECs are on the fast track to meaningfully use EHRs and qualify for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. In fact, the first Medicaid incentive checks have already been mailed out, and the first Medicare incentives arrived in May."

In South Dakota, over 500 physicians and 2,000 healthcare professionals are already working with HealthPOINT, the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC) based at Dakota State University’s Center for the Advancement in Health IT (CAHIT).  In just sixteen months, HealthPOINT has built a non-profit and self-sustainable education, outreach, and direct technical assistance partner for rural healthcare in South Dakota. HealthPOINT’s expert Health IT professionals are located throughout the state and have traveled over 20,000 miles from Bowdle to Wall and over 50 communities in between to provide more than 8,000 hours of expertise that small South Dakota clinics and hospitals could not normally find nor afford.

Medical practices are encouraged to act now and take advantage of HeathPOINT’s subsidized services for achieving EHR meaningful use, which is the foundation of successful EHR implementation. The federal government has committed unprecedented resources to supporting the adoption and meaningful use of EHRs, and this funding provides important support to achieve the creation of a nationwide, electronically-enabled health care system.

On January 3, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the ONC announced the availability of registration for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs. Through these programs, eligible health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs can receive as much as $44,000 over a five-year period through Medicare or $63,750 over six years through Medicaid. The first round of Medicare incentive payments for eligible providers started in May 2011, with more to soon follow.

About HealthPOINT

HealthPOINT, as part of Dakota State University, is South Dakota’s Regional Extension Center. As a federally designated health information technology resource and support center for all South Dakota healthcare providers, HealthPOINT focuses on an action-based approach to propel providers in adopting electronic health record systems.

CONTACT: Jeff Pickett, HealthPOINT Marketing/Training Coordinator: or call 605-360-7842.

Last Updated: 1/10/12