CMS ANNOUNCES FIRST MEDICARE EHR INCENTIVE PAYMENTS

May 26, 2011 -- On May 19, 2011, the Medicare EHR Incentive Program issued the first round of payments totaling $75 million to providers who signed up in the first two weeks of the program.

On April 18 CMS opened a secure website through which eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) can demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology to CMS by "attesting" to their compliance with program requirements for a continuous 90-day reporting period for their first year of participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. In their second year and subsequent years of participation in the program, providers must  demonstrate meaningful use based on a full year reporting period. CMS expects that providers will attest throughout 2011 and that the total amount of Medicare EHR incentive payments will continue to grow. 

Medicare providers demonstrate meaningful use through CMS' web-based Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation System. In that system, providers fill in numerators and denominators for the meaningful use objectives and clinical quality measures established by CMS, indicate if they qualify for exclusions to specific objectives, and legally attest that they have successfully demonstrated meaningful use. Once providers have completed a successful online submission through the Attestation System, they may qualify for a Medicare EHR incentive payment. 

From January 3 through April 29, 2011, $83.3 million has been disbursed by state Medicaid EHR incentive programs in seven states to eligible professionals and eligible hospitals that met federal and state program requirements. 

Under both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, a total of S158.3 million has been awarded in 2011 to eligible professionals and eligible hospitals that have adopted, implemented, upgraded, or successfully demonstrated meaningful use of certified EHR technology under the Medicare and Medicaid  EHR Incentive Programs. Over 42,600 eligible professionals and eligible hospitals registered for the Medicare and Medicaid programs through April 30, and CMS anticipates that many more will register in the months ahead. The EHR Incentive Programs were established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). 

Under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, eligible providers can receive incentive payments in their first year of participation by successfully registering through CMS' web-based registration system and then demonstrating to their state that they are eligible and have adopted, implemented, or upgraded certified EHR technology. Medicaid EPs and eligible hospitals do not need to demonstrate that they have met meaningful use criteria in the first year. However, they will have to demonstrate meaningful use in subsequent years of participation in the program. 

Eleven states began participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program in January: Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. At the beginning of April, Alabama and Missouri launched their incentive programs. Indiana and Ohio began participating in May. Most of the remaining states will launch their Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs throughout 2011. Check here to see states' scheduled launch dates for their Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs:  http://www.cms.gov/apps/files/medicaid-HIT-sites/ 

With respect to attestation, participants in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program will use their State's Attestation System through a process similar to that for attestation under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.                         

Under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, eligible professionals can receive as much as $44,000 over a consecutive five-year period. Under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, eligible professionals can receive as much as $63,750 over six years. Under both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, millions of dollars will be available to help eligible providers implement and meaningfully use certified EHR technology.

For more information on the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, visit: http://www.cms.gov/ehrincentiveprograms/

A related news release is available at http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press_releases.asp

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