1st Choice Healthcare
1st Choice Healthcare is a non-profit, FTCA Deemed, community governed healthcare organization which provides care to all residents regardless of insurance status. The organization has 6 locations across Northern Arkansas. 1st Choice Healthcare provides reduced healthcare costs that is based on the patient’s ability to pay and tailors services to the needs of the community. 1st Choice Healthcare embraces and practices patient-centered care and strives to provide the best possible medical care while encouraging patients to take an active role in their care through supporting them to make healthy decisions. For more information, visit www.1stchoice-ar.org.
Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (or FQHCs), across the United States play a key role in our health care system, providing affordable care to individuals in rural communities regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. With more than 9,800 locations in all 50 states, all FQHCs offer primary and preventive care, and some offer services such as dental, mental health, and pharmacies. FQHCs receive federal funding to carry out their work, and as such, must adhere to a strict set of requirements including providing care on a sliding fee-based scale and operating under a governing board. In addition, they must meet certain standards and provide reporting on a regular basis to maintain their status.
The Client's Need
As an FQHC Community Health Center, 1st Choice was in need of an integrated EMR and Practice Management system that would support all of the reporting and records management needs required by the federal government and provide efficiency for their team. These requirements included:
- Medicare UB and split claim billing
- Medicaid T Code billing
- Sliding fee schedules
- UDS reports
1st Choice physicians practice in a variety of specialties, which meant the EMR system they implemented would need to have the functional and operational capabilities to support:
- Women’s health
- Pediatric services
- Bone density
- Behavioral health
Yet in addition to the software itself, 1st Choice sought an implementation and support partner who had the FQHC experience needed to work with their staff and take the practice from paper records to electronic records with workflow and governmental requirements in mind. They also hoped to find a partner who knew the practice management and billing side of their business well, and was able to provide on-site assistance throughout the process to help them make wise decisions about their workflow. Ero Health was able to deliver on all counts.
To begin the implementation process, the Ero Health team knew they had to examine all of 1st Choice’s existing workflows, starting with the “why” behind each one, and identifying the purpose for and reasoning behind each. Once they had an understanding of the operational side of the business, Ero Health began implementing the eClinicalWorks® EMR and Practice Management system in a manner that would address 1st Choice’s needs for both efficiency and FQHC reporting.
The implementation included:
- eClinicalWorks application server and database installation
- Data migration
- eClinicalWorks EMR and PM system build
- eClinicalWorks Super User training
- Billing and EMR workflow documentation
- End-user training
- Go-Live support across all locations and departments
- Custom reports
- Lab interfaces
Once the system was live, Ero Health provided ongoing, post go-live assistance to 1st Choice to ensure all was running smoothly and users had confidence in their daily operation of the system. 1st Choice has also continued to rely on Ero Health services and support to help them achieve key organizational goals, and address their changing needs as they grow.
This has included:
- PCMH implementation and roll-out
- Medicaid Meaningful Use requirements
- eBO custom report writing and training
- Changing Medicare FQHC billing requirements
- V10 and V11 upgrade planning, training and go-live support
Not only has the implementation and ongoing support of the Ero Health team helped 1st Choice meet their goals for their EMR, including successful Meaningful Use attestation and achievement of the NCQA Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition in 2016, it has also allowed for the organization to grow. The team of 1st Choice providers has doubled in size since implementation, growing from 12 to 24 providers, and expanding its service offering into areas of practice such as care coordination and diabetes care.