About 76% of office-based physicians could qualify for federal incentives for purchasing an electronic health-record system under the Medicare provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to research (subscription required) published in the March issue of the policy journal Health Affairs.
In addition, about 15% of office-based physicians could qualify for potentially higher EHR payments under federally subsidized state Medicaid incentive programs.
Medicare offers physicians as much as $44,000 in EHR incentives over five years.
Medicaid payments max out at $63,750 over six years, although pediatricians who don't have a high enough proportion of Medicaid payments to be able to qualify for top pay may still be able to receive as much as $42,500 in Medicaid incentives over six years.
Because physicians can participate in only one EHR incentive program—Medicare's or Medicaid's—researchers assume that most physicians eligible for the potentially higher-paying Medicaid program will opt for that one. According to the Health Affairs article—based on an analysis of physician and patient data from more than 2,600 physicians in the 2007 and 2008 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey—nearly 83% of all office-based physicians would be eligible for incentives from at least one of the programs.