States can seek federal money now for Medicaid EMR incentive planning

There's a lot more going on with the health IT portion of the stimulus than just the back-and-forth over defining "meaningful use" of EMRs. For example, there's the Medicaid option for physicians, who can earn up to $63,750 each, rather than the $44,000 maximum through Medicare, if they have a large Medicaid patient pool.

CMS is prepping for the Medicaid incentives by informing states that they can apply now for federal funding to cover 90 percent of their administrative planning. A letter that went to state Medicaid directors this week also says that states must take steps to make sure provider EMRs are compatible with state or federal administrative systems for electronic claims submission, that states should consider Medicaid planning in the context of statewide health IT programs and that states should coordinate any incentive-related activities with regional CMS offices.

CMS promises additional guidance as it becomes available and says the federal agency before the end of the year will publish proposed regulations addressing the issues raised in the letter.

To learn more about federal-state collaboration on Medicaid EMR incentives:
- check out this Health Data Management story
- read the CMS letter and related documents