There has been a lot of discussion about HITECH rates after HHS provided guidance in mid-2016. There has also been a lot of confusion with many believing that the only option is the flat rate of $6.50. For most entities, it will be worthwhile to look at the other options and invest in calculating those methods since they will often come out higher than the flat $6.50.

For a refresher, the guidance provides three methods of calculating the rates:

Actual Cost. Time is kept and logged on an individual request basis and then actual costs are charged to the patients. This can include cost of supplies and postage.

Average Cost. Average cost of processing requests for the department are calculated and then applied to each request that falls under HITECH. This can include cost of supplies and postage.

Flat Rate. A maximum flat rate of $6.50 is charged inclusive of supplies and postage.

As you can see above, Actual Cost and Average Cost methods provide a provision to charge supplies and postage. This can be significant when the cheapest USPS Priority rate (the cheapest option with tracking) starts off $6.45. While Actual Cost may seem daunting to apply on an individual request basis, a very simple Excel spreadsheet where a person inputs their start time (CTRL+SHIFT+ ; ) in one field and then the same at the end of the process, as well as a few simple options for delivery media can help generate an invoice accurately and quickly.