Monday, April 23, 2012

The Push for Meaningful Use

Recently, the National Coordinator for Health IT and the acting CMS Administrator posted a blog in which they made the case that Health IT plays a crucial role in the modern health care system. They define that health care system as one “where care is safer, better coordinated and patient-centered, where we pay for the right care, not just more care.” Because they feel that the use of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) is the best way to accomplish this, they have set what they see as “ambitious” goals for this year. They believe Health IT systems, like EHRs, “help providers communicate better with each other about patient care, which reduces medical errors, helps cut down on paperwork, and cuts out needless duplicate screenings and tests.”

They would like to see 100,000 healthcare providers paid under the Meaningful Use incentive programs by the end of this year. To date, there have been more than 59,000 Eligible Professionals (EP) and over 2,000 hospitals that have received payments through the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs. To reach their goal, they are working with CMS Regional Offices and state Medicaid programs to make sure providers get help in achieving Meaningful Use. There are still 12 states that have not yet launched their Medicaid incentive programs, but they were confident that those programs would be up and running by this summer. Together, almost $4 billion in incentive payments have been made as of the end of February of this year. Over $2 billion has been dispersed by the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, and over $1.8 billion by the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

The push is on to make 2012 the “Year of Meaningful Use”.

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