Doctors, hospitals plan to adopt EHRs and apply for federal incentive payments
More than 80 percent of hospitals and more than 40 percent of office-based physicians nationwide plan to apply for federal incentive payments for adoption and meaningful use of electronic health record technology, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The HHS release announces data from two surveys commissioned by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and carried out by the American Hospital Association and the National Center for Health Statistics.
According to AHA, of the 81 percent of hospitals that strive to meet meaningful use criteria and receive incentive payments, 65 percent plan to enroll the first year of the program, 2011-2012.
According to NCHS, of the 41 percent of office-based physicians that strive to meet meaningful use criteria, more than 30 percent said they will enroll during the first year. Only 14 percent of respondents said they were not planning to apply for meaningful use incentives.
Further NCHS data show that just under 30 percent of primary care physicians had at least a basic EHR in 2010, up from under 20 percent in 2008. Though basic EHRs provide a good starting point for use of HIT in physician offices, the HHS release said most physicians will need to upgrade their EHR systems or expand the use of their systems to qualify for the meaningful use incentive payments.
Incentives for the adoption and meaningful use of certified EHR technology through Medicare and Medicaid were authorized in the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health Act in 2009.
HITECH provides up to $44,000 a year to non-hospital-based physicians under Medicare, or up to $63,750 a year under Medicaid. Through Medicare, physicians must meet meaningful use criteria to qualify for the Medicare incentive payments. Through Medicaid, physicians can receive the first year’s incentive payment for adopting, implementing, and upgrading certified EHR technology, but must demonstrate meaningful use in later years to qualify for additional payments.
Provider registration for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and some Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs opened earlier this month. On Feb. 3, Texas Medicaid will offer a webinar to help physicians prepare for the incentive program and enrollment. The webinar will be held twice, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. or 5 - 6:30 p.m. To register for the webinar, go to http://conta.cc/EHRwebinarJan2011.