As of March 2014, CMS has paid out $22.9 billion in incentive payments to eligible hospitals and professionals participating in the meaningful use program, according to the latest CMS data, Modern Healthcare 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.
Details of Payments
Of the total incentive payments, CMS has paid:
- $14.3 billion to eligible hospitals; and
- Almost $8.6 billion to eligible health care professionals (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 4/29).
In addition, the data show more than 371,000 eligible hospitals and other professionals have received incentive payments since the program began (CMS report, March 2014). According to Modern Healthcare, the figure represents:
- 90.4% of the 5,011 estimated eligible hospitals; and
- 69.6% of the estimated 527,200 eligible professionals.
The data also show 41 eligible hospitals and other professionals listed as unique providers who received meaningful use incentive payments so far in 2014, including:
- Nine eligible hospitals; and
- 32 eligible professionals.
According to Modern Healthcare, the data suggest a slowdown in the number of new participants in the meaningful use program. Observers say CMS could have difficulty getting the remaining 9.6% of eligible hospitals and 30.4% of eligible professionals to join.
Steve Waldren, senior strategist for the Center for Health Information Technology at the American Academy of Family Physicians, said, "I think it's going to be a rough couple of years" for the program. He noted that going forward, Medicare payments will be reduced and EHR adoption will slow, mostly because developers have not yet released EHR updates (Modern Healthcare, 4/29).