During the monthly meeting of the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provided its latest update for the EHR Incentive Programs whose payouts now number close to $17 billion. To date, eligible professionals have received $3.98 and $2.44 billion through Medicare and Medicaid, respectively, and eligible hospitals have received $10.25 billion in EHR incentive payments.
Rob Anthony, the Deputy Director of the Office of eHealth Standards and Services (OESS), revealed the federal agency’s expectations for the coming months as the next phase of the program, Stage 2 Meaningful Use, kicks off for EPs in 2014.
“The important figure that we like to focus on is the number of eligible professionals that have converted to meaningful use,” Anthony said. “We’re watching that figure closely. Of course, toward the end of the year I think we’ve talked in the last couple of months that we’re in the sort of slow down period and December, January, February, March is when we’ll really see the hockey stick, the end of that, jump off.”
The number Anthony alluded to is the 24,314 EPs who made the leap from the adopted, implemented, upgraded (AIU) portion of the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program to actual meaningful use in which they must demonstrate the ability to meet the requirements set for Stage 1 Meaningful Use of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. The total paid out to these providers has now exceeded $208 million.
As of the end of October 2013, CMS saw the number of EPs registered for the Medicare and Medicaid portions of the program increase by 4,365 and 2,354, respectively. Meanwhile, the number eligible hospitals grew by 73, with nearly all (71) declaring themselves dually eligible to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs for Medicare and Medicaid.
Here is a rundown of the program to date:
• Approximately 85% of all eligible hospitals have received an EHR incentive payment for either MU or AIU;• Approximately 60% or 3 out of every 5 Medicare EPs are meaningful users of EHRs;• Approximately 76% or nearly 3 out of every 4 Medicaid EPs of have received an EHR incentive payment;• 3 out of every 5 Medicare and Medicaid EPs (more than 64%) have made a financial commitment to an EHR;• Almost 330,000 Medicare and Medicaid EPs have received an EHR incentive payment.
CMS also provided early estimates for the number of EPs and EHs receiving EHR incentive payments in November. An estimated 3,000 Medicare EPs, 2,800 Medicaid EPs, and 600 Medicaid/Medicaid EHs were paid last month.
“This again is still something of a slow month for eligible professionals and has historically been so,” continued Anthony, “and we will expect that obviously there will be some jump in December as we get to the very beginning of 90-day new year professionals in but of course it will really take off in January and February.”
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