There is no limit on the amount of Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments that will be distributed to health care providers who meet meaningful use requirements, according to National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, Healthcare IT News 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.
Federal Government Unlikely To Cap Payments
On Wednesday, Mostashari -- who delivered the keynote address at the Annual Policy Summit for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society -- said the federal government expects to distribute about $20 billion in meaningful use incentive payments before the program begins levying penalties against health care providers in 2015. To date, the federal government has paid out nearly $7 billion since the program launched in 2011.
According to Mostashari, federal lawmakers will not attempt to reduce or cap meaningful use payments because doctors and hospitals have made significant health IT investments "on the good word of Congress." He said, "Whoever qualifies, gets paid; there's no hard cap."
Mostashari Praises Health IT Progress
Also during the HIMSS summit, Mostashari commended the "great steps" being made through the meaningful use program. He noted that the health IT industry has made significant progress in advancing health information exchange.
Mostashari added that he expects even more "incredible progress" under Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, which is set to begin in 2014 (Manos, Healthcare IT News, 9/13).