American Recovery & Reinvestment Act
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to stimulate the U.S. economy. The bill allots over $60 billion to encourage the use of Electronic Health Records throughout the medical community: $46 billion towards pay-for-performance, and $14 billion in grants.
Physicians will have to choose either Medicare or Medicaid incentives; they cannot get both. While hospitals can apply for both Medicare and Medicaid incentives, children’s hospitals cannot.
Incentives are projected as follows:
MEDICARE: Physicians who accept Medicare can receive up to $44,000 over the five-year period. Physicians who practice in a “provider shortage” area are eligible for an additional 10% incremental increase. Providers such as anesthesiologists or pathologists, who deliver care entirely in a hospital environment, are ineligible. Beginning in 2011, physicians who “meaningfully use” an approved HIT system are eligible to receive up to 75% of their allowable Medicare charges as an incentive, providing it does not exceed the maximum incentive payment allowable for that year.
“Early adopters” (those who implement an HIT system by 2011 – the first year that incentives are available – or by 2012) receive an even higher payment ceiling, i.e. as much as $18,000 the first year they adopt the technology. For example, if a physician’s allowable charges in 2011 or 2012 total $24,000 or more, the full yearly bonus would total $18,000.
MEDICAID: Physicians seeing more than 30% of patients paying with Medicaid (20% for Pediatricians) are eligible for payments up to $64,000 over five years. Individual doctors can get as much as $25,000 in year-one Medicaid incentives to partially offset the initial cost of the technology. Physicians can then earn up to $10,000 annually for four additional years to support “meaningful use” of EHR.
gloStream available from Binatech System Solutions is one of only a handful of systems that feature a fully integrated Practice Management and a CCHIT-certified and customizable Electronic Health Record solution. With features like e-Prescribe, comprehensive electronic encounter documentation and more, the gloStream enables your practice to capture, view and report the data required for government incentive programs.
To be eligible for incentives physicians must be able to demonstrate “Meaningful Use” of the Healthcare IT. The EHR in use must be certified and include these functions:
Connectivity to other providers that improves access to full visibility of a patient’s health history
Capability to report on their use of the technology to HHS
It’s not enough to have the EMR; you must be using the key elements in order for your use to be considered “meaningful”. Keep in mind also that the federal government is still refining the meaningful use definition; hopefully we’ll see the final result by the end of the year.
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