Four more states recently opened registration for their Medicaid electronic health-record incentive payment programs, bringing the total of states with functioning programs to 27, the CMS has announced.
Four more states registering for EHR payments
Providers could begin signing up Sept. 5 in Florida, the nation's fourth most-populous state, as well as in Illinois (fifth), Georgia (ninth) and Oregon (28th). Three of the five most-populous states, including second-ranked Texas, now are accepting registrations, according to CMS and Census Bureau data.
"We've passed the halfway point" in terms of states that have Medicaid EHR incentive programs up and running, said Jessica Kahn, technical director for health information technology in the Center for Medicaid, CHIP, and Survey and Certification at the CMS. California, by far the most-populous state at nearly 36.6 million people, and New York, No. 3 at nearly 19.5 million, are "both still on target" to open registration this fall, she said.
Of the 27 states with operational programs, 17 are making payments to providers for demonstrating they've adopted, implemented or upgraded to certified EHRs, Kahn said. Payment capacity is separate from registration and varies by state, Kahn said. "It has to do with their overall readiness," she said. "We require that they take attestation (from providers) in three months and make payments in five."
Medicaid payments under the EHR incentive program, established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, began flowing in January. They totaled $389 million through August, with the money going to 118 hospitals and 1,297 physicians, nurse practitioners and other "eligible professionals," Kahn said.
She said the original expectation was that the Medicaid EHR programs would be running in all 50 states and U.S. territories in 2011, but it looks now like that won't quite be the case.
"We think we'll have all but three or four states and maybe a couple of territories by the end of the year," she said, adding that all programs should be ready by spring. EHR incentive payment money comes from federal stimulus-law appropriations, but states must foot 10% of the cost to administer their programs.
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