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Full steam ahead for Medicare/Medicaid EHR incentives

By jeremy.engdahl-johnson

As reported in Modern Healthcare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided nearly $4.5 billion in electronic health records (EHR) incentive payments. About $2.4 billion of that is under Medicare, which started EHR incentives in May 2011. The rest is under Medicaid, which began EHR incentives in January 2011. Hospitals have received the bulk of the total in both programs, about $3.1 billion. The program has more than 225,000 active accounts. The EHR incentive program is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which authorized $19 billion for the EHR incentive program.

For a couple of Milliman perspectives on the EHR program, check out this paper on state healthcare data exchanges which points out how:

Community-based data pooling initiatives in Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin (commonly known as Chartered Value Exchanges or CVEs) have already shown that, at least using administrative data, it is possible to bring stakeholders to the table, get appropriate infrastructure in place, and begin using community health data to improve quality and transparency. These organizations may serve as models or building blocks for more meaningful use of EHR data nationally.

It’s also worth taking a look at this 2009 research report, “The Convergence of Quality and Efficiency and the Role of Information Technology in Healthcare Reform,” which discusses how EHR can move beyond administrative efficiency to become a decision support tool for physicians.

You can download the latest EHR program data from CMS here.

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