Meaningful Use incentive payments to providers up to almost $15.9 billion

Participation in the Meaningful Use incentive program continues to increase, with 2,970 Medicare eligible professionals, 1,399 Medicaid eligible professionals and 33 hospitals joining the ranks of active registrations in the program in July 2013, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services latest summary. Those additions bring the total of active registrations to 409,839 providers.

The increases are a bit slower than in June, which saw 3,661 Medicare eligible professionals, 2,240 Medicaid eligible professionals and 52 hospitals joining the list of active registrations in the program.

Overall, 316,125 eligible professionals and hospitals have been paid incentives, representing $15,884,674,565 in payouts.

CMS also reported that more providers are feeling the pinch of sequestration, with 1,949 eligible professionals and 95 eligible hospitals having their incentive payments reduced in July. In June 1,916 eligible professionals and 331 hospitals had their payments reduced due to sequestration.

Forty-nine states and four territories now are open for Medicaid registration.

The summary does not address CMS' views toward changing the start date of Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, which is still slated to begin in 2014. Several provider groups, including MGMA and the American Academy of Family Physicians have asked the agency  to delay the implementation of Stage 2, while HIMSS suggested that the attestation requirements be softened.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also recently recommended that the Meaningful Use program be paused and reassessed.

To learn more:
- read the summary (.pdf)