First physicians in the nation get MU check

 Four physicians have become the first in the country to receive their Medicare EHR incentive payments for demonstrating meaningful use.

Juan Salazar, MD, an internal medicine physician from McAllen, Tex., and three physicians from multi-specialty West Broadway Clinic of Council Bluffs, IA, announced receipt of government incentive funding for successful use of electronic health records (EHR), with the support of Kansas City, Mo. based health company, Cerner Corporation. West Broadway Clinic and Salazar achieved the first stage of rigorous requirements certifying them 'meaningful users' of health information technology and are excited to announce that the meaningful use dollars have been received via electronic bank deposits.

The physicians from West Broadway Clinic, including family medicine, internal medicine, endocrinology and women's health specialists, successfully attested on April 20, 2011, and each received $18,000 in government incentive funding on May 18, 2011, with which they plan to continue to investing in patient safety for the communities they serve using certified EHR technology provided by Cerner. Salazar's office successfully attested on April 18 and also reports receipt of $18,000, the full amount offered through the CMS, as of May 18, 2011.

"All the pieces we've employed with Cerner through reaching Meaningful Attestation Use attestation have led to improved patient safety. The requirement from CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] is so beneficial to us—saying you have to do this and you have to do it now only leads to better safety," said Jan Patterson, West Broadway Clinic's practice administrator who drove the clinic's meaningful use process and attestation.

To receive federal incentive funding, Medicare and Medicaid eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals have to demonstrate 'Meaningful Use' through the CMS Web-based Registration and Attestation System. According to the CMS definition of Meaningful Use, providers need to show they are using certified EHR technology in ways that can be measured significantly in quality and in quantity. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 specifies three main components of Meaningful Use:

  • The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner, such as e-prescribing
  • The use of certified EHR technology for electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of healthcare
  • The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures