Registration for EHR Incentive Programs Started January 3, 2011

January 6, 2011

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 enrollment information.