The federal government’s program encouraging the implementation of electronic health records is about to making incentive payments to doctors and hospitals across the country.
Registration for the Medicare EHR incentive program begins on Jan. 3 as do incentive programs for Medicaid providers in individual states.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, which was part of 2009’s Stimulus bill, stipulated that healthcare providers can receive up to $44,000 through Medicare or as much as $63,750 through Medicaid if they implement and prove so-called “meaningful use” of an EHR system. Under both Medicare and Medicaid, hospitals are eligible for millions of dollars if they complete the EHR programs’ requirements.
“With the start of registration, these landmark programs get underway, and patients, providers, and the nation can begin to enjoy the benefits of widespread adoption of electronic health records,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick said in prepared remarks.
CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, or ONC, established online resources and set up offices around the country to assist with both the implementation of EHR systems and incentive registration.
“ONC and CMS have worked together over many months to prepare for the startup on Jan. 3. ONC’s Certified HIT Product List includes more than 130 certified EHR systems or modules,” National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. David Blumenthal said in prepared remarks.
ONC also set up 62 Regional Extension Centers to help to provide doctors and hospitals with “hands-on assistance” for the implementation of EHR systems.
“It’s time to get connected,” said Blumenthal.
CMS announced the following key dates for the incentive programs’ first year:
- Jan. 3, 2011 — Registration for the Medicare EHR incentive program begins.
- Jan. 3, 2011 —States that are ready may launch their incentive programs for Medicaid providers.
- January 2011 — Some state agencies begin issuing Medicaid EHR incentive payments.
- April 2011 — Attestation for the Medicare EHR incentive program begins.
- May 2011 — Issuing of Medicare EHR incentive payments expected to begin.
- July 3, 2011 — Last day for eligible hospitals to begin their 90-day reporting period to demonstrate meaningful use for the Medicare EHR incentive program for federal FY 2011.
- Sept. 30, 2011 — Federal FY 2011 payment year ends at midnight for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs).
- Oct. 3, 2011 — Last day for eligible professionals to begin their 90-day reporting period for calendar year 2011 to demonstrate meaningful use for the Medicare EHR incentive program.
- Nov. 30, 2011 — Last day for eligible hospitals and CAHs to register and attest to receive an incentive payment for federal fiscal year 2011.
- Dec. 31, 2011 — Calendar 2011 payment year ends for eligible professionals