EMR Incentive Center

FAQs Program Registration

What do You Need to Know About Registering for a CMS EHR Incentive Program?

First, select a CMS EHR Incentive Program: Medicare or Medicaid

Eligible providers will need to select either a Medicare or a Medicaid CMS EHR Incentive Program for which to register. The Medicare reimbursement program is federally managed so that it is consistent across all states and requires a single registration through the CMS EHR website. The Medicaid program is administered by the individual states so registration is slightly different in that providers will need to register through the CMS website, select the single state from which they seek reimbursement and then register with the selected state Medicaid organization.

Select an EMR vendor early

Keep in mind that the larger payouts in the early years of the programs are meant to encourage the early adoption and meaningful use of EMR. In order to secure maximum reimbursement from the incentive program, don’t wait to select your EMR vendor. Many vendors are experiencing backlogs with an influx of new clients eager to take advantage of the incentives. Selecting an EMR vendor early will allow for the required time to successfully manage the implementation project, ensure training in meaningful use features and allow time for providers to monitor their success with meaningfully using EMR.

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Registering for a program and proving meaningful use of a certified EMR

Eligible providers interested in securing incentive program reimbursement will need to prove (attest to) the use of an EMR certified by an ONC-ATCB. Proving the use of a certified system, will require providers to simply access the ONC Certified Health IT Products List website and use the site search for their EMR. Providers will then use the website to generate a code, called the CHPL Code, which the provider will enter into their online CMS program registration application. Providers may register for an incentive program even if they are not currently using a certified EMR; simply leave the CHPL Code field in the application blank for now. Providers may access their CMS EHR Incentive Program registration at any time to update the field when they are working with a certified EMR and ready to begin the attestation phase to request reimbursement.

If you are already a MicroMD EMR client, click here to access the "CMS EHR Certification ID" for your version of EMR.

Medicare program requirements and reimbursement

For the Medicare program, providers are eligible to receive reimbursement of up to 75% of their maximum Medicare Part B allowable charges, annually, not to exceed the program maximum payout amounts by year. Please see the charts below to determine maximum Medicare annual reimbursements and the payout schedule, as well as the disincentives that Medicare plans to institute starting in 2015 for providers not registered for a CMS EHR Incentive Program to prove meaningful use of a certified EMR. Providers practicing in a federally designated “Health Professional Shortage Area” are eligible for a 10% additional incentive bonus.

Please see the chart below to determine maximum Medicare annual reimbursements and the payout schedule.

After attestation, when will Medicare incentive payments be issued?

Per the CMS EHR Incentive Program website incentive payments to EPs for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program will be made approximately four to eight weeks after an EP successfully attests that they have demonstrated meaningful use of certified EHR technology. However, EPs will not receive incentive payments within that timeframe if they have not yet met the threshold for allowed charges for covered professional services furnished by the EP during the year. Payments will be held until the EP meets the $24,000 threshold in allowed charges for calendar year 2011 in order to maximize the amount of the EHR incentive payment they receive. If the EP has not met the $24,000 threshold in allowed charges by the end of calendar year 2011, CMS expects to issue an incentive payment for the EP in March 2012 (allowing 60 days after the end of the 2011 calendar year for all pending claims to be processed). Payments to Medicare EPs will be made to the taxpayer identification number (TIN) selected at the time of registration, through the same channels their claims payments are made. The form of payment (electronic funds transfer or check) will be the same as claims payments.

Bonus payments for EPs who practice predominantly in a geographic Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) will be made as separate lump-sum payments no later than 120 days after the end of the calendar year for which the EP was eligible for the bonus payment. Please note that the 90-day reporting period an EP selects does not affect the amount of the EHR incentive payments. The Medicare EHR incentive payments to EPs are based on 75% of the estimated allowed charges for covered professional services furnished by the EP during the entire payment year. If the EP has not met the $24,000 threshold in allowed charges at the time of attestation, CMS will hold the incentive payment until the EP meets the threshold as described above.

Please note that the Medicaid incentives will be paid by the States, but the timing will vary according to State. Please contact your State Medicaid Agency for more details about payment.

Medicare program registration

Providers may register for the Medicare program now through the CMS EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation page. Pay close attention to the information that will be required for registration. Gather all the required info and complete the registration. The website will verify eligibility and inform the provider whether the registration was successful.

Medicaid program requirements and reimbursement

For the Medicaid program, providers having over 30% of total patient visits dedicated to Medicaid are eligible to receive reimbursement of up to 85% of their net allowable charges for EMR purchase, implementation, training, support etc. required for the provider to adopt, implement or use EMR. Pediatricians who may not have 30% of their patient visits dedicated to Medicaid may still participate if at least 20% of their visits are Medicaid, although Pediatricians that opt for this relaxed percentage will only be eligible to receive 66% of the maximum reimbursement each payment year.

In the first desired payment year, Medicaid incentive program providers only need to prove adoption, implementation or use of a certified EMR in order to secure reimbursement. The second payment year will require 90 days of consecutive meaningful use. Thrid and subsequent payment years will require 365 days of meaningful use according to the current stage. Providers should verify the requirements with their state Medicaid organization. Finally, providers participating in multiple state Medicaid programs must select a single state from which to secure reimbursement.

Please see the chart below to determine maximum Medicaid annual reimbursements and the payout schedule.

Medicaid program registration

As the Medicaid incentive programs are established by each state, providers will need to check with their state Medicaid organization to verify if and when their state program will be open for registration and well as requirements and reimbursement payment timelines. Click here to access the CMS list of Medicaid programs and their current status. Providers should verify if there will be any additional requirements to register for their state Medicaid program, as each state may have requirements that differ from the Medicare registration. Additionally, Medicaid programs will require a two part registration. First, providers will need to register with the CMS for an EHR Incentive Program through the CMS EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation page. Once registration is successfully completed through the CMS website, providers will be directed to follow up with their state Medicaid organization to complete the second part of their registration.

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