$14.6 billion in MU incentives paid

395,000 eligible providers and hospitals in the program
By Diana Manos
10:49 AM
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As of the end of April, the federal government has paid out $14.6 billion in EHR incentive payments, according to Robert Anthony, deputy director of the HIT Initiative Group at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of E-Health Standards and Services.

At the Health IT Policy Committee meeting on Wednesday, Anthony said the numbers were the most current available and show an increasing number of providers are interested in the program. There were 395,000 eligible providers and hospitals in “active registration” in the federal meaningful use program--out of a total pool of 532,000.

Though Medicaid providers lag behind Medicare providers in the program, CMS is encouraged by the steady increase in Medicaid eligible providers signing up to participate. To date, there are some 13,000 Medicaid meaningful users. “We’re seeing more and more come in month-to-month,” Anthony said. “In April, 3,200 came in and demonstrated meaningful use.”

Anthony said CMS is seeing an upward trend of meaningful users — both Medicaid and Medicare — who are not in primary care. Currently, 61 percent are in specialty care.

The numbers are slightly lagging behind those paid out a year ago at this time, but this relates to the fiscal year when certain providers are able to attest according to the program, Anthony said. “We will likely see more eligible providers and hospitals come in after the close of the fiscal year (October 1),” he said.

[See also:  Q&A with Mark Savage: Why consumers say MU should not be delayed.] 

According to the latest data, a little more than 77 percent of hospitals have been paid under the program, and registration for eligible providers continues “pretty handily” at 75 percent, Anthony said. Three out of every four four eligible hospitals have made a financial commitment to an electronic health record, he said.

Also, according to Anthony:

  • Approximately 50 percent or one out of every two  Medicare EPs are meaningful users of EHRs
  • Approximately 63 percent of all Medicaid EPs have received an EHR incentive payment
  • 10 percent of Medicaid EPs are meaningful users
  • More than 55 percent – one out of every two  Medicare and Medicaid EPs have made a financial commitment to an EHR.

More than 292,000 Medicare and Medicaid eligible providers have received an EHR incentive payment as of the end of April. Not all EPs are new, some are returning from a previous year, Anthony said. “Depending on how the numbers come together, we believe we’ll surpass 300,000 unique providers paid under the program, by the end of May.”

CMS analysis, with data through April, showed 194,080 eligible providers had attested: 193,867 successfully and 213 unsuccessfully. Some 2,977 hospitals had attested, all successfully, Anthony reported.

[See also: Meaningful use penalties could be difficult to avoid in Stage 2, experts say.]