CMS explains how to get paid EHR incentives

By Mary Mosquera
11:22 AM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will pay physicians four to eight weeks after they verify that they have satisfied conditions for meaningful use of electronic health records. That means that the soonest that CMS will issue incentives is in May.

Providers will not receive the incentive payments within that time frame, however, if they have not yet met the threshold of $24,000 for allowed charges in claims for covered services to Medicare beneficiaries during 2011, CMS said in an announcement April 28.

CMS launched meaningful use attestation on April 18. Once met, a qualifying physician will receive $18,000 in incentives for fulfilling the first stage of meaningful use.
The payments to physicians for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program are based on 75 percent of the estimated allowed charges for their covered during the entire payment year.
If a physician does not reach the threshold by the end of 2011, CMS said it expects to pay the incentive to the provider in March 2012, after allowing 60 days beyond the end of the 2011 calendar year for all pending claims to be processed.
CMS will use a payment file contractor to generate electronic payment of the inventives through the same bank account that providers receive payment for their Medicare claims, according to the announcement
To receive the maximum amount of $44,000 in incentives over the five years of the program, physicians must begin participating in 2011 or 2012. Providers who supply services in a "health professional shortage area" may receive additional incentives, CMS said.The bonus will be separate lump-sum payments within 120 days after the end of the year.
EHR incentives for hospitals and cirtical access hospitals start with a $2 million base payment. They will receive initial and final payments.
States manage the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, in which physicians can receive up to $63,750 over six years. Medicaid hospitals also begin with a $2 million base payment. Timing of the states’ payment of incentives varies according to their program, CMS said.