Electronic Health Records

Policy & Regulation News

$13.7 billion in meaningful use incentives paid through March

By Jennifer Bresnick

- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has doled out more than $13.7 billion in EHR Incentive Program payments since the start of the program, according to the latest figures available for March.  255,772 eligible professionals (EPs) have receives payments so far, representing nearly half of the EPs in the country.  March saw $1.1 billion in payments to EPs and more than three quarters of eligible hospitals, signaling continuing success for the meaningful use program.

A total of 259,630 unique providers have active registrations with CMS for the EHR Incentive Program, including 6,407 dentists, 14,045 nurse practitioners, 5,886 optometrists, and 1,704 certified nurse-midwives participating in either the Medicare or Medicaid halves of the initiative.  1,016 providers have joined in 2013 so far, and the year is still young.

CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) recently touted their progress as they work to encourage health IT adoption, noting that 73% of EPs have enrolled in the EHR Incentive Programs so far, though not all of them have received payments.  Assistance from the Regional Extension Centers has been instrumental in promoting EHRs to local physicians, supporting more than 44% of primary care providers and 48% of nurse practitioners across the nation while more than doubling adoption of EHR systems.

A recent survey also shows that EHR adoption and meaningful use continue to move forward at a satisfactory pace, with 35% of healthcare professionals anticipating making strides with meaningful use in the coming year.  Clinical integration, health information exchange, and mHealth are also on the agenda, prompting 23% to lament that competing HIT projects make meaningful use attestation challenging.  However, the growing incentive payment figures show that many providers are progressing well while recouping some of their implementation and maintenance costs from the meaningful use incentive funding.




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