During a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, several Medicare Payment Advisory Commission members raised concerns about the small number of eligible professionals and hospitals that have successfully attested to the Medicare portion of the meaningful use program, AHA News reports (AHA News, 4/5).
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
Commission members noted that health care provider participation in the meaningful use program is lower than the federal government projected.
According to CMS data released at the MedPAC meeting, total incentive payments awarded to eligible professionals for the meaningful use of EHRs reached $636 million in February, a 57% increase over the previous month, while cumulative payments to hospitals reached $1.4 billion, a 10% increase from the previous month.
The 10% increase in hospital payments in February is down from December 2011 when there was a 50% increase in cumulative incentive payments to hospitals.
According to the data, 3,280 hospitals -- or 58% of eligible facilities -- and 126,321 physicians -- or 25% of eligible professionals -- have registered for the meaningful use program.
Of those, 796 hospitals -- or 16% -- and 31,650 physicians -- or 6% -- have received payments.
Some hospital and physician advocates cited high EHR adoption costs and overly burdensome program requirements as reasons for the low adoption rates (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 4/6).
MedPAC members indicated an interest in monitoring the meaningful use program to determine if EHR adoption reduces costs and boosts efficiency (AHA News, 4/5).