Healthcare News & Insights

Study: 17% of providers drop out of EHR incentive program

As debate rages on about the effectiveness of the federal government’s Meaningful Use program, recent surveys have some bad news about the EHR initiative: 

DoctorComputerMany providers that have qualified for EHR incentives are dropping out in the later stages of the program.

Providers participating in Stage 1 of the Meaningful Use program can earn $18,000 in incentives if they can show they’ve met the requirements for a 90-day period during the first year they use electronic records. Then, providers must meet the rules for the next full year in order to earn an additional $12,000.

The Meaningful Use rules required for each payment are the same — only the length of time necessary for reporting is different.

However, 17% of the providers that earned the first incentive in 2011 didn’t qualify for the second incentive in 2012, according to an analysis of incentive program data conducted recently by Wells Fargo.

Stage 2 brings new challenges

On top of that, many of the organizations that have completed Stage 1 don’t plan on continuing through Stage 2 of the EHR incentive program. According to a recent survey conducted by Physicians Practice,14% of providers that have attested to Stage 1 do not plan on attesting to Stage 2.

That’s despite the fact that many healthcare organizations are currently using electronic records. In fact, even as adoption of EHR systems grows, just 36% of hospitals are confident they’ll be able to keep up with the Meaningful Use rules, according to another survey.

Often, the problem is that the system an organization is using can’t meet the more advanced requirements of Stage 2 Meaningful Use. As a result of that and general dissatisfaction with their current system, many hospitals are considering switching to different EHR software.

Other groups say the problem is the  requirements themselves. Some argue the rules are too complicated and aren’t accomplishing the important goals of improving the quality of care while lowering costs.

What do you think is to blame for providers’ struggles to qualify for EHR incentives? Let us know in the comments section below.

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