Federal medical informatics incentive program reaches major milestone

View all blog posts under Articles

More than 110,000 physicians and medical practices have received payments under the Medicare and Medicaid clinical informatics meaningful use incentive program, reports Government Health IT.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have awarded more than $5.58 billion to date, including $346 million paid to Medicare physicians and $205 million to Medicaid doctors in May alone. Officials at the CMS said medical informatics adoption has stabilized and payments have been awarded more evenly in recent months.

“We are reaching an even keel as to how much we are paying each month in incentive payments,” said Robert Anthony, specialist in CMS’ Office of eHealth Standards and Services, as quoted by the news source. “About 71 percent of hospitals that are eligible to participate in the program have registered, and we are fast closing in on 50 percent of eligible professionals being registered at this point.”

While many states have introduced programs to encourage healthcare providers to adopt medical informatics systems, some have yet to implement healthcare IT initiatives. Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada and Virginia plan to begin their own programs in the coming months.

Many states have made use of regional extension centers (RECs) to facilitate the adoption of medical informatics technology. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization (CalHIPSO) has been instrumental in awarding more than $7 million in incentive payments to healthcare providers across the state.

Like many RECs, CalHIPSO assists care facilities in the selection, implementation and use of clinical informatics systems so they can receive meaningful use incentive payments.

According to the news source, more than 7,700 providers throughout California have begun implementing electronic health records, and more than $65 million in federal incentive payments have been made since CalHIPSO was established in 2010.