So how does a staffing firm begin reaping the
business benefits of this quickly escalating need?
Here’s a look at what some companies already
have in the works.
Why the HITECH Act Matters
Part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act was enacted in February
2009 to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology.
The legislation pours $20 billion into improving American health care delivery
and patient care by supporting the “meaningful use” of health information
technology—and ultimately allowing every American to benefit from an electronic
health record and comprehensive medical care across providers.
The HITECH Act specifically authorizes the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services to provide reimbursement incentives for the successful implementation of
electronic health record systems. Therefore, it is in the best interest of physicians
and hospitals to partner with staffing firms to get these systems in place
and train employees to support them. What’s more, starting in 2015, health care
providers will be assessed financial penalties by Medicare if they are utilizing electronic health record systems that are not in compliance with “meaningful use” per by
Time for ICD- 10
It’s been nearly 20 years since the World Health Organization recommended
that health care providers move to the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases. The ICD- 10 is the international standard for classifying
diseases and other medical conditions, and is the principle tool for tracking
morbidity on an international level.
The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that has yet to implement ICD- 10—
but time is up for the nation’s health care providers. Effective Oct. 1, 2013 all
medical claims that do not utilize ICD- 10 codes will be rejected, giving
health care providers yet another incentive for partnering with staffing
firms that can provide the health care IT services, billing and coding expertise, and training that will get them up to date and keep them in business.
ASA will continue to keep its members apprised of health care IT news,
announcements, and resources—particularly through its health care and technical, IT, and scientific membership sections. For
more about ASA membership sections, contact
Diana Mertz at 703-253-1171 or dmertz@ameri-
Starting With IT Strength
Even before the government raised the stakes
on electronic health record systems, health care
providers turned to experienced IT professionals—
and staffing firms in the IT sector—for help with
implementing new electronic health record systems.
But federal mandates and incentives mean health
care providers must step up their game—and that
means they need even more qualified help.
Currently, many staffing companies serving the IT
sector are helping meet the demand for health care
IT professionals. However, with demand expected to
spike in the coming months, just as many firms also
are looking for qualified IT candidates they can train
in health information management.
Conversely, the burgeoning health care IT field
also creates opportunities for individuals with a
clinical health care background who can effectively
branch out into the IT sector. Given either strategy,
it remains clear that impending federal deadlines
will help contribute to a shortage of qualified health
care IT professionals in the months to come.
For example, developing the needed work force
to implement both electronic health record systems
and ICD- 10 upgrade is a major undertaking for
health care providers. The Office of the National
Coordinator for Health Information Technology, part of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, has funded a work force development program to train health care IT professionals.
The program includes $118 million to support the
training and development of more than 10,000 new
health care IT professionals. Additionally, more
than 50,000 health care IT jobs have been created
since the enactment of the HITECH Act.
Keith Fulmer, vice president of health care solutions for Tampa, FL–based Kforce Inc., says a
primary challenge from a staffing firm’s perspective is identifying the skill sets that can be crossed
over into health care IT.
“Employees that have experience implementing
large client relationship management systems are
equally qualified to implement these health care
IT systems in hospitals,” Fulmer says, “if they
receive clinical support.”
Seeking Creative Solutions
Health care reform legislation and its accompanying recommendations have put many health
care provider organizations in stressful situa-