Most state Medicaid programs now utilizing medical informatics systems

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According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicaid programs in many states have adopted clinical informatics systems, reports Information Week. However, many healthcare providers are still waiting for state health authorities to distribute funds owed to them under the CMS’ meaningful use federal financial incentive program.

The news source reports that more than half of states have not yet made any payments to healthcare providers under the meaningful use program. Despite having already implemented medical informatics systems, hospitals and care facilities in 17 states are still waiting for funds to be dispersed to them.

“Forty-one of 50 states have launched their Medicaid [electronic health record] incentive program in 2011. And of those 41 states, we expect at least 38 to be making payments in 2011,” Jessica Kahn, technical director for healthcare IT in CMS’ Center for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Services, told the news source. “The majority of the remaining states are aiming for [between] January [and] March for a program launch, and we expect all states to be launched and making payments by July 2012.”

One reason for the delay in payments in some states is the amount of supporting documentation that accompanies attestation of meaningful use incentive criteria. Many healthcare facilities are required to submit lengthy proposal frameworks for both the implementation and general usage phases, which can slow down the application process substantially.

According to iWatchNews, many of the states with active medical informatics system are in the South and Midwest. Several states on both the East and West coasts have begun planning the implementation of clinical informatics networks, although adoption in these areas has yet to reach the same level as Southern states such as Florida, Texas, Georgia and Tennessee.