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9/17/2010
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Medicare Awards $6.9 Million For EHR Planning

Massachusetts, Ohio, Hawaii, and North Dakota will receive matching funds to implement electronic health records.




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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicaid programs in four states will receive federal matching funds for planning activities necessary to implement the electronic health record (EHR) incentive program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

CMS said the four states and the approximate amounts they will receive in federal matching funds are: Massachusetts, $3.56 million; Ohio, $2.29 million; Hawaii, $836,000; and North Dakota, $226,000.

In a statement announcing the awards, Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Survey & Certification at CMS, said, "Meaningful and interoperable use of EHRs in Medicaid will increase healthcare efficiency, reduce medical errors, and improve quality-outcomes and patient satisfaction within and across the states."

The grants will help states implement EHRs to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare and make it easier for providers to coordinate care of Medicaid patients. Additionally, the EHRs will help patients access the information they need to make decisions about their healthcare, CMS said in a statement.

The Recovery Act also provides a 90% federal match for state planning activities to administer the incentive payments to Medicaid providers, to ensure their proper payments through audits, and to participate in statewide efforts to promote interoperability and meaningful use of EHR technology statewide and, eventually, across the nation.

Each state will use its federal matching funds for planning activities that include conducting a comprehensive analysis to determine the current status of health IT activities in the state. As part of that process, these states will gather information on issues such as existing barriers to its use of EHRs, provider eligibility for EHR incentive payments, and the creation of a state Medicaid health IT plan, which will define the state's long-term vision.

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