On Tuesday, HHS announced that it already has surpassed its goal of having more than 100,000 health care providers receive meaningful use payments by the end of 2012, Health Data Management reports.
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
By the end of May, more than 110,000 eligible professionals and 2,400 hospitals had received a total of $5.7 billion in meaningful use incentive payments, according to the HHS announcement.
The figures represent about 20% of eligible professionals and about 48% of eligible hospitals (Goedert, Health Data Management, 6/19).
The HHS announcement noted that more than:
- $3 billion in Medicare EHR incentive payments were distributed between May 2011 and the end of May 2012; and
- $2.6 billion in Medicaid EHR incentive payments were distributed between January 2011 and the end of May 2012 (HHS release, 6/19).
HHS noted that Medicaid programs in 44 states currently are distributing meaningful use incentive payments.
Comments From Federal Health Officials
In the announcement, acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said, "Meeting this goal so early in the year is a testament to the commitment of everyone who has worked hard to meet the challenges of integrating EHRs and health information technology into clinical practice."
National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari attributed the meaningful use program's success to federally-funded health IT initiatives.
He said, "Thanks in great part to the work conducted by the ONC-sponsored regional extension centers and Beacon Communities programs, more and more providers across the country -- especially those in rural communities -- are now ready to use EHRs" (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 6/19).