CMS to match EHR funding in four states

By Diana Manos
10:20 AM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will grant Alaska, Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin federal matching funds for EHR implementations.

The funding is allotted under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grants cosist of:

* $900,000 for Alaska;
* $2.6 million for Kentucky;
* $1.48 million for South Carolina; and
* $1.37 million for Wisconsin

According to CMS officials, matching state funding for EHR adoption is "another key step to further states' role in developing a robust U.S. health information technology infrastructure."

CMS officials said EHRs will improve the quality of healthcare for citizens. The records make it easier for the many providers who may be treating a Medicaid patient to coordinate care. Additionally, EHRs make it easier for patients to access the information they need to make decisions about their healthcare.

ARRA provides a 90 percent federal match for state planning activities to administer incentive payments to Medicaid providers.

"Meaningful and interoperable use of EHRs in Medicaid will increase health care efficiency, reduce medical errors and improve quality-outcomes and patient satisfaction within and across the states," said Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations at CMS.

CMS officials said the four states plan to use the funding to analyze their healthcare IT activities. They will assess barriers to the state's use of EHRs and determine provider eligibility for EHR incentive payments. Each state will also create a state Medicaid HIT Plan, which will define the state's vision for its long-term HIT use.

CMS announced on Jan. 4 that Pennsylvania and Tennessee will also receive similar funding.