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1/14/2011
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81% Of Hospitals To Seek EHR Incentives

The federal government could pay out as much as $27 billion over 10 years, based on high rates of electronic health record adoption.

Health IT Boosts Patient Care, Safety
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Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), said in a statement that his agency is pleased with the survey results, which indicate that healthcare providers are enthusiastic about participating in the incentive programs. "We believe participation will continue to grow, especially as the nation's physicians become more familiar with this one-time opportunity to improve care while helping to offset the costs of adopting EHR systems," Berwick said.

According to Blumenthal, the efforts of the medical community, in combination with the federal government's funding of initiatives to accelerate the adoption of EHR technology, have created greater awareness that EHRs can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and advance the quality of care. Blumenthal also said the meaningful-use process has contributed to the increased willingness of providers to adopt EHR systems, especially because it guides providers through staged objectives for the productive use of EHRs.

Additionally, providers can have confidence that complete EHRs and EHR modules, certified under ONC criteria by ONC-authorized testing and certification bodies, can be relied upon to support the meaningful-use objectives, he said.

Incentive payments for the adoption and meaningful use of certified EHR technology were authorized in the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009. These payments will be made through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. High rates of adoption and meaningful use could result in as much as $27 billion in incentive payments over 10 years.

Non-hospital-based physicians and other eligible professionals can obtain incentive payments of as much as $44,000 under Medicare or $63,750 under Medicaid. Under both Medicare and Medicaid, eligible hospitals may receive millions of dollars for implementing and meaningfully using certified EHR technology.

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