EHR incentive payouts climb to $23B

Eligible hospitals and providers have received a whopping $23 billion in electronic health record incentive payments from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CMS officials reported this week. 
 
EHR payouts currently stand at $22.9 billion to date, reported Elisabeth Myers, policy and outreach lead at the CMS Office of eHealth Standards and Services at the May 6 Health IT Policy Committee.
 
[See also: EHR incentives climb to $19B.]
 
Some 94 percent of all U.S. hospitals are participating in the meaningful use program, Myers said, and of those participating, 90.7 percent have received incentives.
 
More than 370,000 Medicare and Medicaid eligible providers have earned an EHR incentive payment so far, with 64,000 new participants attesting to meaningful use for the 2013 reporting year, she said.
 
In addition, 225 eligible professionals attested for the 2014 reporting year. Sixty-one of them are new participants. So far this year, 50 providers have attested to Stage 2 along with 30 eligible hospitals. Eight of those hospitals are new participants to the MU program and four of them attested to Stage 2 this year.
 
Myers' CMS report came on the heels of new findings from the American Hospital Association, released this week via a supplemental 2013 data survey on Hospital EHR and Stage 2 functionality.
 
The survey found hospital adoption of EHRs has increased five-fold since 2008.
 
Most hospitals had a high adoption rate of Stage 2 functionalities, said Jennifer King, acting director of the Office of Economic Analysis, Evaluation and Modeling at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
 
The survey asked hospitals about their adoption of the 16 Stage 2 core objectives. "Most hospitals have adopted most objectives," King said. "Most hospitals need only one or two more objectives to achieve Stage 2 core."
 
King said the CMS survey revealed critical access hospitals and small rural hospitals are lagging behind in their adoption of Stage 2 objectives.
 
"It is too early to tell if Stage 2 is successful," Myers said, when asked by a HIT Policy Committee member if the numbers reflect lagging success on Stage 2.