CMS pays out nearly $12.7B to date in meaningful use EHR adoption incentives

By Diana Manos
11:07 AM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports it has paid out nearly $12.7 billion in meaningful use incentive payments through February 2013, according to the latest figures available.

The electronic health record adoption incentive program, launched under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has now drawn 264,292 Medicare eligible providers (EPs) to date, including 120,002 Medicaid registrants and 4,299 hospitals, according to CMS.

At the April 3 HIT Policy Committee Meeting last week, Robert Anthony, from the CMS Office of E-Health Standards and Services reported said CMS is starting to see more Medicaid eligible providers as meaningful users; as opposed to only hospitals. 

A little over 85 percent of all eligible hospitals are currently registered, to date, according to Anthony. “A little over 75 percent of all eligible hospitals have actually been paid, either Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments—and, for the vast majority of hospitals it will be both--we are seeing good registrations on the eligible provider side, as well. Out of 527,200 EPs, almost 73 percent of those registered, half of them are Medicare and another 23 percent are Medicaid,” Anthony said.

[See also: New EHR bill would amend MU requirements.]

“Oviously payments are lagging a little bit behind, but we are continuing to see increases here,” Anthony added. “We have a little over 44 percent of all EPs that have actually been paid.”

Three out of every four hospitals have actually made a financial commitment to EHRs, Anthony said, with 73 percent of all eligible hospitals meaningful users at this time.

“A little over one out of three (36 percent) of all Medicare providers are meaningful users, and we are closing in on a little over one out of  every two EPs are meaningful users,” Anthony reported.

Comparing how well hospitals in the program are achieving the meaningful use objectives, Anthony said most hospitals are achieving significantly more than the thresholds of meaningful use require—both for core and menu objectives. 

As for next month’s report, “generally, we anticipate March to be a pretty significant month,” he added.

[See also: HealthITxChange offers venue for sharing 'pearls of wisdom' on EHR adoption.]