On Jan. 3, 2011, registration officially opened for the electronic health
record (EHR) incentive program administered by the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services (CMS). Pursuant to the Health Information Technology for
Economic and Clinical Health Act (the HITECH Act), eligible professionals and
eligible hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid and that adopt and
make “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology can qualify for Medicare and
Medicaid incentive payments. Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments will be
available to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access
hospitals when they adopt certified EHR technology and successfully demonstrate
“meaningful use” of the technology. The “meaningful use” criteria are designed
to improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of patient care.
Although the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program opened registration Jan. 3, 2011,
not all states are ready to participate. Participating Medicaid programs as of
Jan. 3, 2011, are those in Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma,
Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. In
February, the California, Missouri and North Dakota Medicaid programs will open
their incentive program registration. CMS anticipates that other states that
chose to participate will launch their Medicaid incentive programs during the
spring and summer of 2011.
Professionals who meet the eligibility requirements for both the Medicare and
Medicaid EHR incentive programs must select which program they wish to
participate in when they register. Under the Medicare EHR incentive program,
eligible professionals can receive as much as $44,000 over a five-year period.
Under the Medicaid program, eligible professionals can receive as much as
$63,750 over six years. However, in order to participate in the Medicaid
program, a provider must meet a minimum Medicaid patient volume threshold, as
measured by a methodology selected by the state.
CMS’ Official Web Site for
the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provides detailed
information about the Medicare and Medicaid programs, including specific