What do you need to know about the CMS EHR incentive program?
Many physicians and healthcare organizations are facing uncharted territory in the effort to align themselves with the federal goals of improving patient care and coordination, effectively managing public health data and improving efficiencies in the delivery of healthcare. The signing of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) earmarked $31 billion dollars dedicated to healthcare IT initiatives through the HITECH Act. A main focus of the HITECH Act is electronic medical record 9EMR) implementation and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) is offering incentive reimbursements to eligible providers and hospitals to help drive EMR adoption.
The HITECH Act allocated funding to the CMS to provide reimbursement dollars intended to incent individual providers, rural and community health clinics and hospitals to implement, adopt and meaningfully use EMR. Eligible professionals (Eps) using a certified EHR can receive up to 75 percent of their Medicare Part B allowable charges each payment year up to the payment year max. Eps practicing in “health professional shortage areas” can receive a 10 percent additional payment. Penalties for not meeting meaningful use begin in 2015 and start with a 1% reduction in payments and increase to 3% in 2017 and beyond. Medicare providers that didn’t start the incentive program by 2014 are no longer eligible for incentive payments but can still avoid penalty adjustments by demonstrating Meaningful Use. Eps with 30% or more Medicaid patient volume (20% for pediatricians to earn 66% of incentives), can receive incentives based on the Medicaid incentive payment schedule. The maximum benefit is $21,250 in the first year and $8,500 each year following through the life of the program, as long as the EP continues to meet eligibility requirements and is following any specific state medical organization requirements. Medicaid Eps may also opt to receive their first year payment incentive by attesting to “Adoption, Implementation or Upgrade” (A/I/U) of a certified EMR, although in payment year 2 and beyond, Medicaid Eps must meet Meaningful Use as outlined by the Medicare program requirements.
Henry Schein MicroMD has a vested interest in educating the eligible provider community, as well as the supporting staff members, who are all critical to ensure a successful selection, implementation and use of a certified EMR. With that in mind, we are dedicated to offering information to providers that will help them navigate the changing healthcare delivery landscape, as well as EMR implementation and meaningful use. Take a moment to review the FAQs on the following topics: