Healthcare News & Insights

EHR incentive payments total close to $8 billion

Despite some recent political opposition, the federal EHR incentive program seems to be successful in getting providers to switch to electronic records. 

whopping 58% of eligible healthcare providers have taken advantage of the cash the government’s spending to help ease the move to EHR, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The total amount of incentives handed out so far has reached nearly $8 billion.

It’s expected that before the move to EHRs is complete, it’ll cost somewhere in excess of $20 billion to make the conversion.

The past two years have seen a big uptick in medical pros making the switch to EHR. Experts say that’s because time is running out to get a share of the money that’s being offered to the healthcare folks for the project. Also, an expanded offering of software products, particularly cloud-based EHR systems has made the software more palatable for smaller practices.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 offers physicians who implement EHR systems and demonstrate that they are engaged in “meaningful use” of such systems can receive reimbursements of as much as $44,000 under Medicare, or as much as $65,000 under Medicaid. Hospitals can receive funds from both the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

To qualify for incentives, providers must meet the requirements for Stage 1 of Meaningful Use. The Stage 2 rules will go into effect in 2014, while the feds are currently putting together a proposal for Stage 3.

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