The clock started for hospitals to begin counting their 90 days of meaningful use on Oct. 1, 2010; for physicians and other eligible providers, on Jan. 1, 2011.
Thus far, the state-level Medicaid version of the incentive program is in the lead, having already doled out more than $64 million. Because the Medicaid program didn't require providers to meet meaningful-use targets, merely "adopt, implement or upgrade" a certified EHR the first year, 452 of the 1,995 Medicaid-registered eligible providers in six states have already been paid more than $13 million, according to CMS numbers through March. Meanwhile, 28 dual-eligible hospitals have been paid $51 million. (Hospitals can be paid under both the Medicaid and Medicare EHR incentive programs; providers must choose one or the other. A total of 13 states are now taking Medicaid registrations, and a seventh state is now making payments.)
Hat tip to the federal and state workers with these Medicaid programs on their progress thus far.
Eventually, however, the federally supervised Medicare program is expected to blow the doors off Medicaid in numbers of participants and money dispensed. An estimated $27 billion could be made available for EHR incentives under both programs.
Also in the news last week was an Office of National Coordinator announcement that 2,280 health information technology students will graduate from ONC-funded, community college-based, six-month IT training programs. The consortia of community colleges across the country participating in the program is on track to produce 7,000 IT graduates this year and 10,500 more next year.