April 27, 2012 - Advocacy Corner
$4.5 Billion in Incentive Payments Paid Out as of March
According to a new report by CMS, 76,612 physicians and hospitals have received $4.5 billion in incentive payments through March 2012. Of that total, $339.9 million has been paid to Medicare eligible providers. As of March, nearly 226,000 providers have registered for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive programs. Government Health IT reports that “Medicaid payments
for physicians and hospitals amounted to $254.1 million to adopt, implement and upgrade their EHRs and $13 million to demonstrate
meaningful use in March. The Medicaid program started issuing payments in January for meaningful use in addition to updating their systems.”
Medicaid Payments began in January 2011. Through March 2012, more than $2 billion in Medicaid payments
have been made. Similarly, between May 2011 when Medicare EHR incentive payments began and the end of
March 2012, more than $2.3 billion in incentive payments have been made to EPs, eligible hospitals, and
CAHs that qualified. The newest data shows that Texas, Florida, California, and Pennsylvania are among
the top states to issue payments. For a state-by-state breakdown of physicians and hospitals registered
for EHR incentive payments through March 2012, click here.
Department of Labor Helps Healthcare Workforce
Recently the Department of Labor launched a new portal to aid healthcare workers. The website, aimed
at both current healthcare workers and prospective workers, will help them not only find job postings,
but it will also list local education programs and include free online training courses. The Virtual
Career Network (VCN) provides in-depth descriptions of over 80 healthcare careers. Prospective workers
can expect to find information on the availability of jobs that meet their interests, instructions on how
to become qualified for healthcare jobs and the typical wages offered for certain types of positions.
Some news sources have reported that the website will have to prove its worth to win users from the
already-established indeed.com, careerbuilders.com, and a few others. One feature that may help
differentiate it is the open source platform that the website is built on to foster content
contributions from outside organizations related to healthcare training and employment. The VCN
website was funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the American Association of
Community Colleges (AACC) provided leadership and content for the website.
Study Says Many Eligible Physicians Plan to Apply for MU, But Many Not Ready
While some 76,612 physicians and hospitals across the country have collected $4.5 billion in incentive payments,
according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs, many other physicians who planned to apply for incentive
payments are struggling and are unprepared to meet the requirements for the EHR incentive program. According to the
study, 51% of the respondents intended to apply for payments, but only 11% had EHR systems with at least 10 of the 15
capabilities required for the Stage 1 core meaningful use objectives. This lack of EHR technology, questions about
ROI and other barriers are preventing smaller practices from qualifying.
The study concludes, “In the 2010 final rule adopted for stage 1 meaningful use, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services estimated that 10–36 percent of Medicare-eligible professionals and 15–47 percent of Medicaid-eligible
professionals would demonstrate meaningful use in 2011. Our survey results fall at the low end of those ranges.”
The study suggests that RECs might be guided by these findings to help physicians adopt health IT to receive incentive payments.
CHIME News & Notes
ONC Looks to Highlight CHIME Members for Helping Their Affiliated Docs to MU
During this month’s CHIME Members-Only StateNet meeting, CIOs had an opportunity to hear from ONC’s Mat Kendall,
who directs the Office of Provider Adoption Support (OPAS). During his presentation, Mr. Kendall
gave CIOs and update on ways that OPAS is looking to connect with providers. OPAS oversees the
Regional Extension Center program and health IT workforce development efforts at ONC, including
the 82-member Community College Consortia. Along with StateNet Chair Randy McCleese, Mr. Kendal
announced his office’s intentions to work with CHIME in developing a Hospital-affiliated EP
Meaningful Use Vanguards (Hospital-based EP MUVers) initiative. Details will be forth coming,
but the goals of the program will be to recognize those hospitals who have helped their EPs and
understand how they got their docs to Meaningful Use. Among other things, ONC hopes to develop a
“toolbox” for hospitals in a set of best practices that identify challenges, barriers, systematic
issues related to getting EPs to MU; identify those hospitals who are overcoming those challenges
and share information.
Other News Items CHIME Is Reading:
For Mr. Kendall’s slides, click here.
For a recording of the presentation, click here.
Meaningful use still a challenge despite strides, say hospitals, Healthcare IT News, April 24, 2012
CMS Releases Final Rule on National Provider Identification Number, Health Data Management, April 25, 2012
HITRUST launches cybersecurity center, Healthcare IT News, April 24, 2012
CHIME Policy Docs & Calendar
CHIME Advocacy Documents
Want to know who is involved with ACOs? Curious about what the next phase of HIEs look like? Please contact Sharon Canner, Jeffery Smith or Angela Morris.