1st Choice Healthcare

The Client

1st Choice Healthcare is a non-profit, FTCA Deemed, community governed health care organization to all residents regardless of insurance status. The organization has 6 locations across Northern Arkansas. 1st Choice Healthcare provides reduced health care costs that is based on the patient’s ability to pay and tailor 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.

The Situation

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 Curas team is very professional, bringing the knowledge and skill set needed to help us reach our goals and grow our practice. They’re willing to help at all times and work tirelessly to resolve any issue or answer any questions we may have. They’ve been right alongside us throughout the entire process, helping to make this transition possible.”
– Debra Finley, Chief Operating Officer

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. Curas was able to deliver on all counts.

How Curas Helped

To begin the implementation process, the Curas 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, Curas began implementing the eClinicalWorks® EMR and Practice Management system in a manner that would address 1st Choice’s needs for both efficiency and QHC 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, Curas 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 Curas 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 now, V11 upgrade planning, training and go-live support

This type of custom support program is ideal for large enterprises as their needs tend to differ from those of small independent practices. Curas leveraged its knowledge and experience with large physician organizations to develop Ohio County’s program, and provide the level of support they needed.


Not only has the implementation and ongoing support of the Curas 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.

About Curas

Curas is a St. Louis area based health information technology consulting company and one of the top resellers of the eClinicalWorks® suite of products for the electronic medical office. From planning through implementation, training and support, Curas has a nationwide reputation for providing the services physicians need to ensure that their Electronic Health Record Solution makes their practice more productive. Curas’ staff of eClinicalWorks® certified specialists install the software, train end users, and assist practices with optimizing their office workflow to maximize the benefit they receive from deploying eClinicalWorks® products. Curas maintains its own call center providing Level 1 and Level 2 support to its clients. In addition to locations in Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Hawaii, the firm installs, trains, and supports users at various sites around the United States. Today, Curas supports over 1000 physicians in nearly 40 states with practices ranging in size from solo practices to multi-specialty 100 provider practices. Curas was recently named one of the Fastest Growing Companies in St. Louis by the St. Louis Business Journal, and was named to the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Inc. 5000 List of the nation’s fastest growing companies. For more information about Curas, visit curas.net.