EHR incentive payments surge to $13.7B

Nearly half of eligible professionals have registered for MU

Continuing the upward trajectory of EHR reimbursements flowing out into the healthcare industry, CMS said on Tuesday morning that the total paid as of March’s end is more than $13.7 billion. 

“March was a very big month,” said Rob Anthony of CMS’ office of e-health standards and services during a HIT Policy Committee meeting. “We have a large majority of hospitals at this point.”
 
Anthony added that 86 percent of eligible hospitals have registered for the meaningful use program, and 77 percent have received reimbursement payments.
 
[See also: EHR incentive payments top $12 billion.]
 
“Most importantly, we have close to 260,00 unique eligible providers,” or nearly half of all eligible professionals registered for the program, Anthony added.
 
Which led to the natural question about those hospitals not participating today.
 
“The hospitals we’re seeing challenged most at this time are in rural areas, or critical access hospitals,” Anthony explained. “As we move forward and start engaging in education on this front we’ll get a better sense of the challenges facing them and what the hurdles are for these hospitals.” 
 
Farzad Mostashari, MD, the national coordinator for health IT, explained during the HIT Policy Committee meeting the industry is about halfway toward digitizing the healthcare system and 5 percent of the way toward reaping the benefits of that IT infrastructure. Scaling that success, practice-by-practice and not just among large health systems is going to the challenge moving forward, he added.
 
While CMS has not yet finalized statistics for April, Anthony said that based on the freshest estimates, “it looks like April is also going to be a large month for us.