Hard to believe, but something of late has had even greater cash flow than the Powerball lottery: the federal government's electronic health-record incentive payment program.
More than $692 million poured out of the federal treasury in October and into the coffers of hospitals, physicians and other so-called eligible professionals, raising the total payout of the federal EHR incentive payment program, created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, to just over $8.4 billion, according to the latest data from the CMS (PDF)
The CMS reported that 150,239 eligible professionals, including 124,564 physicians (83% of eligible professionals are physicians), have shared in $2.84 billion in incentive payments under the Medicare or Medicaid portions of the programs since the cash started flowing in early 2011. An additional 19,793 physicians and other eligible professionals registered under one or the other of the two programs in October, pushing the total number of active registrations for both to 322,865.
A little less than $5.38 billion has gone out to a total of 3,238 hospitals, according to the CMS. Hospitals can receive EHR incentive payments under Medicare, Medicaid or both. The addition of 57 hospital registrations in October lifted total hospital active registrations to 4,114.
Total payments to the nine Medicare Advantage organizations, which also are eligible for incentive payments under the federal program, remained unchanged at just over $189 million.