Most health care CIOs still are optimistic that their organizations will receive federal incentive payments for the meaningful use of electronic health records, but many expect to qualify for the incentives later than initially estimated, according to a survey by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, HealthLeaders Media reports.
Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 4/14).
CHIME conducted the survey from March 4 through March 20 and received responses from 200, or 14%, of its members (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 4/13).
About one-third of respondents said they expect their organizations to qualify for meaningful use incentive payments by Sept. 30, which marks the end of the first year of the program for hospitals (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 4/14). According to the survey, 58% expect their organizations to qualify during Stage 1 of the program, but possibly not until late in the 2012 or 2013 fiscal years.
However, just 7.5% of respondents expected their organizations to qualify for payments by April 1, compared with 15% who said the same in November 2010 and 28% in August 2010 (HealthLeaders Media, 4/14).
The survey also found that:
- About 90% of respondents still have concerns about achieving meaningful use requirements;
- Nearly 75% are concerned about proposed legislation that could repeal funding for incentive payments (Healthcare IT News, 4/13); and
- 39.5% believe their current IT strategies and tools will help their organizations achieve meaningful use, down from 42% in the November survey (Goedert, Health Data Management, 4/14).
Challenges for CIOs
The most common concern among respondents was capturing and reporting data for quality measures, the survey found (Healthcare IT News, 4/13).
Pamela McNutt -- chair of CHIME's Policy Steering Committee, and senior vice president and CIO of Methodist Health System in Texas -- said meeting meaningful use criteria is more difficult than many CIOs might have anticipated.
For example, hospitals are facing IT staffing shortages and problems associated with properly collecting and submitting quality measure data through EHR systems, according to McNutt (HealthLeaders Media, 4/14).