GAO Report: $6.3B Doled Out for Meaningful Use in 2012


In 2012, CMS disbursed $6.3 billion in electronic health record incentive payments to eligible hospitals and medical professionals participating in the meaningful use program, according to a report released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, EHR Intelligence reports (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 10/25).

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.

Report Findings on Hospital Incentive Payments

Overall, the report found that CMS in 2012 disbursed incentive payments to 2,291 hospitals totaling $3.5 billion, up from $1.3 billion paid to 777 hospitals in 2011 (Brewin, NextGov, 10/24). Incentive payments for hospitals ranged from $4,827 to $4.7 million, with a median payment of $1.4 million (EHR Intelligence, 10/25).

According to the report, hospitals in rural areas were 3.1 times more likely to receive an incentive payment in 2012 than they were in 2011.

The report found that of the hospitals who received incentive payments in 2012:

  • 61% were located in urban areas;
  • 39% were located in the South; and
  • 15% were located in the West.

Report Findings on Incentive Payments to Eligible Professionals

Meanwhile, the report found that CMS provided incentive payments to 183,712 medical professionals totaling $2.8 billion, up from $944.6 million paid to 58,331 professionals in 2011.

It found that:

  • General practice physicians were 1.5 times more likely than specialty practice physicians to have been awarded an incentive payment in 2012; and
  • Medical professionals with the lowest amount of Medicare Part B charges were 3.3 times more likely to have received an incentive payment in 2012 than in 2011 (NextGov, 10/24).

According to the report, CMS has paid out $8.6 billion of the $30 billion allocated for the EHR incentive program since it launched in 2010 (EHR Intelligence, 10/25).

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