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- Proactive Security and Privacy Monitoring for Modern Healthcare Networks
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- Beyond the EHR: Seamlessly Connecting Nurses and Physicians Using an EHR-Extender (EHR-e)
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The Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record program has paid physicians and hospitals nearly $2 billion in incentive payments as of the end of November, surpassing what federal health officials anticipated.
Medicare incentives for demonstrating meaningful use of EHRs have amounted to $920.3 million, while Medicaid payments for providers to adopt, implement and upgrade their EHRs reached an estimated $916 million for a total of $1.8 billion, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Final figures for Medicaid payments will be available within a week.
[Editor's Desk: This Week in Government Health IT.]
CMS has paid incentives to 10,556 Medicare providers and 12,070 Medicaid providers to date, said Robert Anthony, a specialist in CMS’ Office of e-Health Standards and Services.
“We are very encouraged that we are closing in very rapidly on $2 billion in payments, which we should easily hit by the end of the year,” he said at the Dec. 7 meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee, which advises the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
“We’re also continuing to see for the providers who are attesting a very high performance rate across the objectives,” he said, adding that even if the numbers indicate early adopters, it is still promising.
The number of physicians, hospitals and other eligible providers in the program has steadily increased since May but has spiked since October, and “even now in December, a big jump in numbers in a single day,” Anthony said.
During November, 23,994 Medicare and Medicaid physicians and hospitals registered to participate in the incentive programs, for a total of 154,596 for the year to date.
Of that number, 115,093 physicians and hospitals are in the Medicare incentive program; 39,503 physicians and hospitals are in the Medicaid program; and 2,634 hospitals are registered for both the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
CMS anticipates that a fairly sizable number of physicians will get on board in December, January and February because they can attest for 2011 payments up until Feb. 29, 2012.
At the time of this analysis, 769 hospitals had attested, all successfully. Of the 21,308 physicians who had verified their demonstration of meaningful use, 444 were unsuccessful. Those eligible professionals failed to meet the required threshold for one or more objectives.
“They have entered a numerator/denominator combination that falls below the indicated percentage. But it’s not telling us a lot about the attestation barriers,” he said.
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To identify possible hurdles, CMS is conducting field surveys, talking with healthcare professional associations and working with ONC about the barriers that its 62 regional health IT extension centers see when they are assisting physicians.
In analyzing the attestations, drug formulary, immunization registries and patient list were the most popular objectives where physicians had menu options. Transition of care summary and patient reminders were the least popular menu objectives. For hospitals, syndromic surveillance was the least popular, Anthony said.
To track progress, CMS has added features that show state breakdowns of Medicare and Medicaid provider incentive payments and program registrations and updates of state Medicaid EHR launches.