A report from a federal watchdog gives further evidence of a digital divide between large and urban hospitals on one side and small and rural facilities on the other.
Under the federal electronic health-record system incentive program, hospitals where at least 10% of patients are covered by Medicaid are eligible for payments through Medicaid for adopting a certified EHR. The Government Accountability Office, in a report reviewing the 2011 activities of the Medicaid EHR incentive program, found that 41% of eligible urban hospitals received EHR incentive payments. In comparison, 35.8% of eligible rural hospitals did.
Disparities were found based on hospitals' size, too. Nearly half (49.8%) of eligible large hospitals (176 or more beds) received Medicaid EHR payments, compared with 42.9% of eligible midsize hospitals (41 to 175 beds) and 24.9% of eligible small hospitals (40 beds or fewer). Among eligible critical-access hospitals—facilities with 25 or fewer beds—26.6% received payments.