Healthcare News & Insights

CMS: 75% of eligible hospitals have received EHR incentive payments

The federal EHR incentive program really took off in 2012, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

Since the program began in 2011, a total of $9.3 billion has been paid to help healthcare organizations switch to electronic health records, including close to $4 billion paid through November of 2012.

So far, 3,393 hospitals and 162,051 physicians and other eligible professionals have received EHR incentives, according to CMS in its most recent report on the incentive program.

That equates to 75% of eligible hospitals and nearly one-third of eligible professionals, Modern Healthcare reports.

Despite those positive numbers, continuing to comply with the federal EHR incentive program could be a challenge for many organizations. The majority of hospitals aren’t fully confident that they’ll be able to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements by the time they go into effect, according to a recent survey conducted by the KPMG Healthcare & Life Sciences Institute.

Among the 140 hospital administrators polled, only 36% said they’re fully confident about their organization’s readiness to meet the requirements, while 47% said they’re somewhat confident that they’ll be ready. An additional 11% don’t know what to expect, and 4% aren’t confident at all.

EHR incentive program under scrutiny

CMS’s report also comes shortly after the publication of a study from the Inspector General’s office of the Department of Health and Human Services which argued that the EHR incentive program doesn’t do enough to vet applicants before incentives are paid.

According to the report, CMS relies too much on self-reported data and the only avenue available for further scrutiny is to conduct an audit after an organization has already received its payment.

While collecting more data from all applicants might not be feasible, the report suggests CMS choose applications to ask for more data, similar to how it will choose organizations to audit — except before the payment is sent, rather than after. Also, the report says the agency should give more clear guidance about what documents providers should keep and what reports EHR systems should be able to deliver.

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