CMS counts 21,000-plus providers registering for EHR incentives

By Mary Mosquera
08:21 AM

More than 21,000 providers have registered to participate in the electronic heath record incentive program of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and about two-thirds are ready to confirm that they have met the meaningful use requirements.

The latest numbers cover up to the end of January, and CMS officials say they’ve seen a steady rise in the numbers of providers registering since then.

The attestation module at the CMS website will launch in April, said Elizabeth Holland, director of heath IT initiatives group in CMS’ Office of eHealth Standards and Services.

“It’s taken so long because it’s complicated. A lot of systems need to interact with each and building all the interfaces takes awhile,” she said during a Monday session at HIMSS11. “We want to make sure we do it right.

We’re doing testing right now to make sure that we pay appropriately.”
The attestation module will walk providers through the core and menu measures, describing them on a display screen with boxes to check or show calculations. CMS also plans an attestation test module, Holland said, where “providers, if they are not formally ready to attest, can go in and put in their information to practice if they can pass or not.”

The first Medicare incentives will be paid out in May. Medicaid has paid out $2.7 million so far to providers under the EHR incentive program, she said.

CMS has placed a number of resources on its website to help providers become meaningful users. Aside from frequently asked questions and user guides, CMS also started a listserv earlier this month to notify people of news and changes related to the incentive program, Holland said.