Maryland requiring health plans to offer EMR incentives

Maryland has approved a bill making it the first state to require commercial health plans to offer doctors incentives for adopting electronic medical records.

Starting in 2011, when physicians adopt EMRs, health plans will have to pay them higher reimbursements, pay out a lump sum  incentive or offer in-kind services that have financial value. This ties in with the state's timetable for getting physicians online; by 2015, physicians who don't adopt EMRs will face penalties.

The same bill also mandates the creating of a health information exchange linking all of the state's doctors, hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies. The network should be phased in gradually, with the first parts of it beginning in the fall. The seed funding for the network will come partly from stimulus funds and partly from hospital fees.

To learn more about Maryland's plans:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report item

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