HHS released the first numbers regarding its Meaningful Use incentives program, established by the HITECH Act of 2009. Unsurprisingly, most eligible professionals and hospitals receiving funds this year qualified for incentive payments under Medicaid, rather than Medicare, because Medicare has a higher threshold for receiving such payments. Medicare requires the eligible professional or hospital to achieve and demonstrate meaningful use, while Medicaid mandates only adoption, implementation or upgrade of existing systems.
Nevertheless, the extent of the disparity was somewhat surprising: only about 6% of eligible hospitals and 3% of eligible professionals qualified for meaningful use incentives under Medicare. Via Modern Healthcare:
So far, Medicaid program payments for hospitals, physicians and other eligible professionals that have adopted, implemented or upgraded to a certified EHR system have totaled $389 million. Only $264 million has been paid under the Medicare program, which has a higher eligibility threshold, requiring providers to demonstrate that they are meaningfully using their certified EHR system.
Through Aug. 31, 2,054 hospitals have registered with the CMS to receive Medicare incentive payments. Hospitals that registered as dual-eligibles need to attest to having met meaningful-use targets under the Medicare portion of the program. But only 114 of the registered hospitals—less than 6%—have attested to being meaningful users. They have split about $226 million in Medicare EHR incentive payments.
Similarly, for the same period, 71,378 physicians and other "eligible professionals" have registered with the CMS under the Medicare EHR program, but only 2,129—or about 3%—have shared in $38.3 million in Medicare EHR payments. Unlike hospitals, professionals can't participate in both the Medicare and the Medicaid incentive programs. They must choose one.
According to the CMS, 15 hospitals have been paid solely under state-run Medicaid programs; they have received $32.9 million. In addition, 294 hospitals registered as dual-eligibles have been paid $262.2 million by Medicaid. There have been 4,463 physicians and eligible providers paid $93.9 million under Medicaid, according to the CMS.