Healthcare // Electronic Health Records
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2/25/2011
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21,000 Healthcare Providers Registered For EHR Incentives

More than $20 million has already been disbursed in the Medicaid electronic health record incentive program in its first two months, as the parallel Medicare program prepares for its May launch.

17 Leading EHR Vendors
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Slideshow: 17 Leading EHR Vendors

Four states reported initial Medicaid incentive payments totaling $20 million, and more than 21,000 providers registered for the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs in January, figures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show.

CMS released the numbers on Wednesday, and additional data from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) reveal that, as of Feb. 11, more than 45,000 providers have requested information or registration help from 62 Regional Extension Centers (RECs), which provide technical support to providers wanting to adopt health IT and meet meaningful use requirements.

According to CMS administrator Donald Berwick, eligible hospitals and physicians are showing strong support for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR programs, which he says is a very good sign.

"We encourage early adoption, and we're seeing the registration numbers continue on an upward trajectory. The valuable feedback we [have seen] in these early weeks of the program helps us to fine-tune our list of frequently asked questions and other resources to increase providers' understanding of the incentive programs and help them in getting signed up," Berwick said in a statement.

Eleven states have launched Medicaid EHR incentive programs, and incentives have been issued by four states. Highlights for January include payments to hospitals and physician offices in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Iowa. The University of Kentucky's teaching hospital, University of Kentucky HealthCare, received $2.8 million, while Central Baptist Hospital received $1.3 million. In Oklahoma, two physicians at the Gastorf Family Clinic of Durant, Okla. received incentive payments of $21,250 each for having adopted certified EHRs.

Louisiana announced a payment of $63,750 to Winn Community Health Center, the first federally qualified health center (FQHC) in the nation to receive an incentive payment. The incentive payment consisted of $21,250 for each of three eligible professionals at the clinic. Iowa also issued its first Medicaid EHR incentive payments in the amount of $21,250 each for two eligible professionals.

CMS said additional Medicaid incentive payments are in process. States that have launched their Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs are Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

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