Big year ahead for meaningful use

How many hospitals and how many care providers have achieved Stage 1 meaningful use and received government incentive payments for having done so, depends on how you count. Should you include those who filed under the Medicaid program as well as those who filed under Medicare?

To receive Stage 1 payments under Medicaid is easier. There is no requirement to prove meaningful use for Stage 1. So many organizations that plan to attest to meaningful use for both Medicaid and Medicare, have already qualified under Medicaid, but are taking more time to get their ducks in a row before attesting on the Medicare side.

If you count hospitals that have received payments under both Medicare and Medicaid, the tally is 1,647. If you count those on the Medicare side alone, the number is 604.

As for eligible professionals – doctors, nurse practitioners and others – 15,255 collected on the Medicare side. Another 14,089 received payments under Medicaid.

The numbers are higher, of course, when you count Medicare and Medicaid payments together. That is how the Office of the National Coordinator presents the numbers.

Sure, there may have been some talk among government officials about how to put the numbers in the best light.

ONC chief Farzad Mostashari uses the total numbers of Medicare and Medicaid recipients: 1,647 for hospitals, and 29,344 for eligible providers.

And, why not?

Some argue that since Medicaid incentives do not require applicants to show meaningful use of EHRs in the first year, including the number as evidence of program success skews reality.

We say, the numbers are there – on the CMS site – to slice and dice and interpret every which way.

Though, the number of meaningful use achievers by year end 2011 might have been disappointing to some, we see is as a solid start and predict it will grow in a big way over the next year.

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