New Government Incentives Are Available for Medical Practices that Adopt Technology Now!
On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), a critical measure to stimulate the economy. Among other provisions, the new law provides major opportunities for the Department of Health and Human Services, its partner agencies, and the states to improve the nation’s health care through health information technology by promoting the meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR) via incentives. For a copy of the full bill, go to: http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/overview/index.html
Why you need to start planning your EMR migration now!
Federal funds will be distributed through Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to Eligible Professionals (EPs) and hospitals who are “meaningful EHR users.” The Recovery Act establishes financial incentives beginning in January 2011 for EPs who are meaningful EHR users. Beginning in 2015, payment adjustments will be imposed on EPs who are not meaningful EHR users.
The incentive payment is equal to 75 percent of Medicare allowable charges for covered services furnished by the EP in a year, subject to a maximum payment in the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth years of $15,000; $12,000; $8,000; $4000; and $2,000, respectively.
For early adopters whose first payment year is 2011 or 2012, the maximum payment is $18,000 in the first year. There will be no payments for meaningful EHR use after 2016. There would be no payments to EPs who first become meaningful EHR users in 2015 or thereafter.
The Medicare fee schedule amount for professional services provided by an EP who was not a meaningful EHR user for the year would be reduced by 1 percent in 2015, by 2 percent in 2016, by 3 percent for 2017, and by between 3 to 5 percent in subsequent years.
For 2018 and thereafter, if the Secretary finds that the proportion of EPs who are meaningful EHR users is less than 75 percent, then the reductions will be increased by 1 percentage point each year but by not more than 5 percent overall.